Johannesburg — The re-revised schedule for the Indian men’s team’s tour to South Africa will see SuperSport Park host the opening Test on Boxing Day, Cricket SA confirmed on Monday.
The New Year’s Test will be played at the Wanderers from January 3, while Newlands, will host the third Test from January 11. That match in particular could be a special occasion for the Indian captain Virat Kohli, who, should he not suffer any catastrophic injury, will play his 100th Test at the renowned Cape Town venue.
Cricket SA and the Board of Control for Cricket in India confirmed at the weekend that the series would take place, after a few nervous weeks following the finding of a new Covid-19 variant by South African scientists. A number of countries banned travel to southern African nations, including South Africa because of the Omicron variant.
India was not among those, choosing a ‘wait and see’ approach with the BCCI deciding to keep the India A side in the country to complete its three match series against South Africa A. The tour has been pushed back one week from it’s original dates with the India team now set to arrive in the country on December 17, instead of December 10. The first Test was to be played at the Wanderers and would have started on December 17, with SuperSport Park still hosting the Boxing Day Test, while Newlands would see its traditional New Year’s Test return.
Despite the changes, Cricket SA would have been extremely relieved that the Indians will still be touring having endured England cutting short its limited overs tour here last November, while Australia didn’t bother coming at all for its scheduled Test series in March.
The financial hit to Cricket SA’s coffers would have been catastrophic had India not toured.
The four match T20 series will take place at a later date, owing to the changes, allowing India to return home in time for its limited overs series with the West Indies in February.
The three match One-Day series remains on the schedule, with the first two matches taking place in Paarl, and the last one at Newlands on January 23.
At the moment, up to 2000 people will be allowed into the venues, provided they can prove they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and they will be spread out according to strict pandemic protocols.
The Test series will form part of the new cycle of the ICC World Test Championship.
India Tour Schedule
26-30 Dec — 1st Betway WTC Test, SuperSport Park, Centurion
03-07 Jan — 2nd Betway WTC Test Imperial Wanderers, Johannesburg
11-15 Jan — 3rd Betway WTC Test Six Gun Grill Newlands, Cape Town
*The first two Betway Test matches will commence at 10:00 SAST and the third will begin at 10:30 SAST.
19 Jan 1st Betway ODI, Eurolux Boland Park, Paarl
21 Jan 2nd Betway ODI, Eurolux Boland Park, Paarl
23 Jan 3rd Betway ODI, Six Gun Grill Newlands, Cape Town