Johannesburg — Proteas captain Dean Elgar said it was extremely disappointing that spectators would not be able to attend the three Test series against India that starts in Centurion on Sunday.
Cricket South Africa confirmed on Monday that no fans would be allowed into the stadiums for the three Tests, citing concerns over the high Covid-19 numbers in the country, which are being driven by the Omicron variant.
“It’s pretty disappointing that we won’t have crowds,” said Elgar.
“It’s very frustrating knowing that we won't have people watching us (in the stadiums), and it's pretty frustrating for the public as well. We are disappointed that we can’t showcase this great Test format in front of passionate supporters, even if it would only have been 2000 supporters, that is still better than nothing.”
Last season, South Africa’s entire international schedule was played out in front of empty stadiums, with the country in the grips of the second wave of the pandemic. This time despite vaccines being available, Cricket SA, in conjunction with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, have opted to show extreme caution.
Cricket SA said Monday it would look into creating ‘fan zones,’ similar to those used during the 2010 World Cup, to help in reaching as many people as possible and allowing them to watch the matches.
Both the Northerns and Central Gauteng Unions will allow premium sponsors to occupy a limited number of hospitality suites at SuperSport Park and the Wanderers respectively. However even in those cases, the suites will not be allowed to be at full capacity.
The Northerns Cricket Union CEO, Dr. Jacques Faul, said only 750 people per day — outside of security, catering staff and media — would be allowed into SuperSport Park for the first Test.