No Spectators for SA vs IND Test Match
Ishant Sharma and Bumrah with Indian Head Coach Rahul Dravid and Batting Coach Vikram Rathour

No Spectators for SA vs IND Test Series: Cricket South Africa confirms that South Africa vs India Test series will be played behind closed doors without spectators due to the Omicron COVID-19 scare.

Team India tours to South Africa to play 3 match Test series and as many as ODI matches. Virat Kohli-led test team has already reached South Africa on December 16 and are staying in a resort.

Irene Lodge(Resort) is entirely booked for team India by CSA to ensure that a strict bio-bubble is maintained throughout the series. The first test match of the series will be played on December 26, 2021, at Centurion with the final and third test match will be played in Cape Town from January 11.

Indian Team Departures to South Africa
Indian Players departures to South Africa

No Spectators for SA vs IND Test Series

South Africa reported a record number of daily COVID-19 cases last week in a fourth wave believed to be largely caused by the Omicron variant.

“Regrettably, CSA wishes to inform the most ardent fans of cricket as well as all sports lovers that owing to the increasing COVID cases around the world, and the fourth wave locally, the two cricketing bodies have taken a joint decision to protect the players and the tour by not making tickets available for the India vs Proteas offerings,” the CSA said in a statement.

“This decision was taken in order to avoid any breaches that could compromise the tour from a Covid-risk perspective and to also maintain a hazard-free bubble environment,” it added.

CSA is looking at various alternative public viewing. The series is taking place amid the rising threat of COVID-19 cases following the emergence of the Omicron variant last month. The country has seen a spike in the number of cases in the past few weeks.

The series forms part of the new cycle of the ICC World Test Championship. “At this stage, we would like to remind all cricket fans that the tour and the matches will still be broadcast on SuperSport and SABC platforms.

In addition to this and as part of ongoing efforts to increase the reach of cricket, CSA is exploring other alternative public viewing activations which will ensure that a limited number of fans are able to enjoy the summer cricket atmosphere with other fans via activation sites, while still observing the strictest safety measures and exercising duty of care.”

Pholetsi Moseki, CSA’s acting chief executive officer, said that the decision was arrived at after a lot of deliberation.

“We acknowledge the interest expressed by the fans and other stakeholders on being able to return to stadiums and want to assure all cricket fans that this decision was not taken lightly, but was instead taken in the best interest of the game and in the interest of the health and safety of all patrons.”

Omicron Surges in South Africa

The Omicron variant is reaching more countries in Africa and weekly COVID-19 cases in the continent surged by 93%. However, there are signs of hope as preliminary data indicates that hospitalizations across South Africa remain low.

Africa recorded more than 107 000 cases in the week ending on 5 December, up from around 55 000. Five countries accounted for 86% of the cases reported over the past week and all the sub-regions in the continent – up from one the previous week – reported increases in new cases.

Southern Africa recorded the highest increase with a 140% hike mainly driven by an uptick in South Africa. Africa currently accounts for 46% of the nearly 1000 Omicron cases reported by 57 countries across different regions of the world.

So far, 10 African countries have reported cases. Despite the widespread global presence of Omicron, more than 70 countries have imposed travel bans that are mainly targeting southern African countries – some of which have yet to report any Omicron case. (Omicron South African data were collected from World Health Organization on December 21, 2021)