No tickets will be
sold to the general public for the forthcoming Test and one-day international
series between South Africa and India because of the ongoing coronavirus
pandemic, Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Monday.
CSA said in a statement that a joint decision had been taken
with the Board of Control for Cricket in India to bar spectators from the
grounds in order to prevent any possible breaches of the bio-secure environment
in which the matches will be played.
The first of three Tests starts in Centurion on Sunday. They
will be followed by three one-day internationals.
The statement cited the increasing number of Covid-19 cases
around the world and the current fourth wave of infections in South Africa for
“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.”
The statement did not mention whether there had been
consultations with the South African government. Current regulations allow
outdoor gatherings of 2000 people.
South Africa, where the highly mutated Omicron variant was
first detected last month, is Africa’s worst-hit country according to official
tallies of virus cases, with more than 3.3 million infections logged and more
than 90,000 deaths.
CSA Acting chief executive Pholetsi Moseki said: “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.”
CSA informed media outlets last week that limited access to
the grounds will be granted to fully-vaccinated journalists.
The matches will be broadcast on both subscription and
free-to-air television channels.
Earlier on Monday, CSA announced that a Mzansi Super League
Twenty20 tournament, planned for February, had been cancelled due to increased
travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament, originally planned as South Africa’s
equivalent of the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash League, was
also cancelled because of Covid last season after only two editions.