Cricket: Fate of India's South Africa tour should be known in days, says Kohli

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - ICC World Test Championship Final - India v New Zealand - Rose Bowl, Southampton, Britain - June 22, 2021 India's Virat Kohli celebrates the wicket of New Zealand's Ross Taylor. Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India cricketers expect to know in the next few days whether their tour of South Africa later this month will go ahead following the emergence there of the Omicron coronavirus variant, captain Virat Kohli said on Thursday.

Sport in South Africa began to shut down last week following the emergence of Omicron, with travel bans and restrictions on flights leaving rugby teams and golfers scrambling to leave the country.

South Africa are set to host India in a three-test series starting in Johannesburg on Dec. 17 followed by three one-day internationals (ODI) and four Twenty20 matches.

"We're not playing in normal times anyways," Kohli told reporters ahead of India's second and final test against New Zealand in Mumbai from Friday.

"So there's a lot of planning that's involved. There's a lot of preparation that's involved in terms of understanding exactly what's going on.

"There are players who are not part of the group right now who will be entering quarantine to join the team in the bubble to fly in a charter (aircraft) those kinds of things. You want to seek clarity as soon as possible."

Indian cricket board (BCCI) chief Sourav Ganguly told Reuters last week that they were monitoring the situation in South Africa.

When asked if there were discussions to postpone the India tour, Ganguly's Cricket South Africa counterpart Graeme Smith told reporters: "Nothing like this has been discussed."

Kohli said coach Rahul Dravid has initiated discussions among the senior members of the Indian squad regarding the upcoming tour.

"We've been talking to the board and we are pretty confident within a day or two or pretty soon we'll have absolute clarity as to what is going on," said Kohli.

"But yeah, look, we need to be realistic about things as well. We cannot just ignore the things that potentially could put you in a confusing place and no one wants to be there.

"So I'm sure everyone's working hard towards finding clarity and giving us the situation as it unfolds as soon as possible. And we all are hopeful that will happen soon."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; additional reporting by Nick Said in Cape Town; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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