Cape Town - Proteas captains Temba Bavuma and Dean Elgar have expressed their confidence in Cricket SA's abilities to provide safe and secure bio environments ahead of the pending India tour.
Rahul Dravid's India team are scheduled to arrive in South Africa on December 9, but the tour has now been placed in jeopardy due to the discovery of the Covid-19 Omicron variant in Southern Africa last week.
Mass hysteria has followed with the United Kingdom, European Union and the United States of America leading a virtual global ban on travel to and from South Africa and its neighbouring states, resulting in the postponement of various international sporting events that were due to be held in the country.
However, a major positive for Cricket SA is that the India 'A' are currently in South Africa and have continued to remain here and complete their three-match tour against their South Africa A counterparts. They are currently playing the second "Test" in Bloemfontein, unlike the Netherlands who opted not to play their two remaining ODI's after the first match was washed out at Centurion.
“CSA has to be commended for the way that they have gone about the BSEs,” Bavuma said.
“It hasn’t been an easy year for us all. Being confined to a hotel room and being restricted from leaving the hotel and having the choice – in most places away from home – between your room and the team room and little access outside the hotel takes its toll, particularly for the all-format playing members of the team and management.
"I’m confident that our BSEs are of the highest safety standards and the protocols are set not only with the everyone’s physical well-being, but mental health in mind,” Bavuma concluded.
Proteas Test captain, Dean Elgar echoed Bavuma’s sentiments, saying:
“It’s hard to believe that we’ve been working in these BSE conditions for a year now, but anyone who has been affected, either directly or indirectly by the Covid-19 virus, knows that this is a necessity if we want to continue playing cricket," Elgar said.
“It takes a toll on a player mentally and yet this team continues to produce good results and make progress – that’s something that I personally don’t think is being spoken about enough.
“The measures that have been put in place and the hotels have been chosen take into account the teams’ physical and mental health needs. We don’t know how much longer we’ll be operating like this, but it’s gratifying to know that when tours come around the health and safety of all involved is top priority."
The Proteas men’s team has been part of eight international cricket BSEs in total - these have ranged from home tours against England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and most recently the Netherlands, to away tours to Pakistan, West Indies, Ireland, Sri Lanka and the ICC T20 World Cup in the United Arad Emirates (UAE) and Oman.
According to the CSA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra: “CSA has instituted world class standards and measures to ensure that all players, staff and officials are protected within this environment. Our main focus was to safeguard the cricket biosphere by managing strict entry standards and limited movement outside of its cordon.”
Manjra has emphasised that the BSE has met the highest standards set by national government and CSA is continuously looking at ensuring that the management of the BSE is second to none in the world.
“What we have implemented at our BSE is a cordon sanitaire which offers full and continuous protection to all individuals who respect and abide by our very demanding guidelines and rules."