The India tour of SA was well on track until the news of the Omicron variant emerged. The Indian government before Omicron started to make headlines, was preparing to lift the international flight ban from the 15th of December but decided to stay it. Seeing the no. of rise in cases, there were speculations earlier that BCCI might cancel altogether the CSA tour.
The CSA earlier reported that they did not receive any request from BCCI about canceling the tour. A few days ago, Jay Shah, confirmed the nod of the India SA tour to the media, a rescheduled one though.
Now according to the news, the tour was confirmed after a marathon meeting took place between the BCCI and South Africa officials where necessary assurances were given regarding the safety of the tour with respect to the Covid-19 virus.
It is reported that Gramme Smith’s good ties with Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah helped CSA to get a nod from their Indian counterpart. CSA has assured of ‘world-class’ biosecurity to the India team. In a statement released by the board, “For us as CSA it is always a meeting of old friends when the Proteas take on India, but we will still present the fans with a compelling proposition and a great spectacle to watch. I would like to take this opportunity to also thank our commercial partners and fans, as we promise them a great game of cricket ahead.”
A tour by the Indian Cricket team has often been a savior method for cricket boards who struggle financially. Back in 2009, when the Sri Lankan cricket board was struggling financially, BCCI arranged plenty of bilateral series between the two sides.
In 2021, India sent a second-second team to Sri Lanka as the main team were engaged in the test series in England. India was unable to tour Sri Lanka in 2020 due to the pandemic, and the tours were mandatory as they are part of the FTP, but the point is that India was not in a dire need of International cricket as much as their Sri Lanka counterparts. The 3 ODI matches are reported to have earned them a revenue of Rs 107 crores from just the TV rights and ground rights. While the tour was only meant for the ODI, BCCI was persuaded to accommodate three T20s as well for the sake of monetary benefits to the Sri Lanka board.
Similarly, the marquee tour holds much more value to Cricket South Africa than it does to the BCCI. For the CSA, R700 is on the line which is significantly high from what they earn from the tours of Australia and England. As of now, the tour is all set to take place from the 26th of December. India will be eyeing their maiden test series in South Africa. The team put up a spirited performance in their 2018 tour but lost by 2 – 1.