C Associated Press TOWN, South Africa ( Associated Press) — For all its illustrious history, India has never won a Test series in South Africa and its chance to convert it into one spent in another coronavirus crisis for Virat Kohli’s top-ranked team. Will focus on tour of the month. Bio-Bubble, this time amid the threat of new Omicron variants.
Despite Omicron, the three-Test series goes ahead, starting Sunday at Centurion, but with the tightening of virus protocols after South Africa first identified and announced the existence of the highly contagious variant last month .
Both teams will live in a stricter bio-secure environment than originally planned, especially for the first two tests in Gauteng province, the center of the world’s first surge in virus cases run by Omicron. The tour was also pushed back, with the first Test starting on December 17, perhaps to give India a chance to see how South Africa’s O’Micron bounce plays out. The news is that there has been a significant drop in cases in recent times.
Nevertheless, fans will not be allowed in any of the Tests at Centurion, Johannesburg and Cape Town, or in any of the three One Day Internationals, a change caused by O’Micron. South Africa had been preparing to bring in a limited number of supporters to the Games before O’Micron emerged and those plans were thwarted.
But India’s cricketers, who have cemented their position as the No. 1 Test team in the world with victories in Australia and England over the past year, are as familiar as any international player and women, now acquainted with the new reality of the game. are not. in an epidemic. They will be quarantined in their hotels for the month except for matches and training sessions.
India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara said, “Sometimes I think (a) bio-bubble helps in a team environment where you spend more time with the team players, you are in the team room, you are together More teams are having dinner.” “So, overall I think sometimes it helps the team environment.
“Yes, there are some challenges as well. “You are not allowed to go out, you cannot explore the country. But at the same time you are getting to play some cricket and that is the most important thing as a cricketer.”
When it comes to cricket, India’s chances of beating South Africa on their eighth Test tour are better than a world class and deep pace bowling lineup led by Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami. , Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav are all ready for support.
India often falls short on the fast, fast pitches of South Africa because its fast bowlers were second best. It might not happen this time.
“Whenever we have played abroad, our fast bowlers have made the difference between the two sides,” Pujara said. “We have done exceptionally well as a bowling unit and I am sure the same will happen in South Africa.”
Rohit Sharma’s absence for the series due to a hamstring injury still leaves a formidable batting lineup led by the brilliant Kohli, who has given up the limited-overs captaincy and focused solely on securing that Test win in South Africa. can do.
South Africa has slipped to number six in the Test rankings amid behind-the-scenes trouble at the national cricket body, where several leaders have been fired for misconduct and a temporary committee was brought in to run the game. Now, head coach Mark Boucher and director of cricket Graeme Smith are to be investigated next year for discriminating against black colleagues.
South Africa captain Dean Elgar said the current team has learned to deal with the turmoil.
“As a sporting group, we have gone through such a bad time that we have formed such a tight bond within our group over the past year or so,” Elgar said. “It’s not an excuse for me to use it. If we had been in the first month of all these bad scenarios, I might have figured it out. But we’ve been here before and I believe we’ve prepared something to deal with it.” Is.”
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