India arrived in Johannesburg on Thursday and headed straight for their bio-secure base at the start of a curtailed South Africa tour.
India will play three Tests and three ODIs despite a surge in coronavirus cases in South Africa, but four planned T20Is have been dropped from the original schedule.
The players boarded a bus which took them to a bio-secure location within easy reach of the venues of the first two Tests, Centurion and Johannesburg.
The first Test starts on 26 December and the second on 3 January.
The India team will then fly to Cape Town for the third Test starting on 11 January and will stay in the same accommodation in the city for the one-day games in Paarl and Cape Town.
The Indians flew on a chartered aircraft and will be confined to their hotel and the cricket grounds in a country that has had a rapid rise rate of Covid infections following the identification of the Omicron variant.
The Department of Health reported 26,976 new cases on Wednesday, but Cricket South Africa medical officer Shuaib Manjra is confident that the series will not be affected by the pandemic.
Dr Manjra said on Tuesday that new guidelines had been agreed on by CSA and the BCCI.
Because all the squad members are fully vaccinated, anyone testing positive during the tour will be able to isolate in their hotel room instead of having to leave the ‘bubble’, unless they have severe symptoms. Close contacts will be able to continue training.
The tour is of crucial importance to the cash-strapped host body, which announced a R221-million loss at its annual meeting in October.
Although the T20I games were earlier this month cut from the original schedule, the India tour is expected to earn CSA about R600m in broadcast fees and other income.
It is not yet clear whether spectators will be able to attend matches.
The South African government currently allows a maximum of 2,000 people for outdoor gatherings but revised regulations are expected to be announced soon following the recent surge in coronavirus cases.
© Agence France-Presse
Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images
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