Despite the recent hike in Covid-19 cases, Cricket South Africa is optimistic about the Proteas possibly touring India later this year.
The BCCI suspended the 2021 edition of the IPL in recent days in light of India’s concerning battle against Covid-19.
The country has been recording record numbers in daily cases and unfortunate related deaths, while most cricketing countries battle to return their players home.
On Thursday, CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith sympathised with the BCCI’s battle against the pandemic.
‘Obviously with the IPL being suspended and what’s happening related to Covid, we need to give the BCCI a day or two – or maybe even more time – to regroup and gather their thoughts. Our support is with them during these challenging times as a country, never mind what a BSC [bio-secure] brings,’ Smith said on Thursday.
‘I think the challenges they are facing as a country are immense. We don’t want to apply too much pressure on them at this stage. We haven’t had any correspondence that things will look differently going forward.
‘I think they have been exemplary in the way they have got the players out. From our players’ perspective, it has been made easier that our borders aren’t closed and there is still commercial travel available for them. The duty and care that they have shown in getting everyone home has been exemplary.’
The Proteas are due to tour India in a limited-overs series before the T20 World Cup in India in October and Smith hopes all precautions will line up ahead of time.
CSA has been forced to make unprecedented arrangements for South African cricketers to return home from the IPL without any Covid-19 concerns in light of the cancellation of the event.
‘I think CSA has put on 15 to 16 BSCs this season and not much has been made about the success that we’ve had. Going back to the England challenges we had then, there is an unpredictable nature around Covid and sometimes you can do whatever you want, but the BSCs are never foolproof. We’ve said that to anyone.
‘We’ve had a lot of success and we need to give credit to our doctors and compliance officers in the way we have run our BSCs. But when Covid is raging in your country, there is always a risk. And unfortunately once it gets inside, it is very difficult to predict what is going to happen. It is obviously a very challenging time for them.
‘Having spoken to the players, they felt safe and they never felt at risk in India. That’s the nature of what Covid brings in terms of its challenge,’ Smith added.