Indian team to fly down to Cape Town on Sunday

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It'll be a low-key New Year for Indian team in SA
It'll be a low-key New Year for Indian team in SA © Getty

Following the conclusion of the first Test within three days, the Indian players scheduled an optional practice session on Saturday and will subsequently fly to Cape Town on Sunday. The players, some of whom are accompanied by their families, are expected to confine themselves indoors and celebrate the arrival of the New Year among themselves.

Simultaneously, all the India A players are booked for departure on Saturday, with Rinku Singh, an unofficial member for the first Test, also released. Rinku, who participated in the Centurion Test as a fielder, was co-opted into the squad due to inadequacy in the Indian Test squad's strength which slumped from 16 to 14 after Ruturaj Gaikwad's exit, who was ruled out along with Mohammed Shami, who did not travel to South Africa.

Among the reserves, Ravindra Jadeja was not fully fit. Only KS Bharat, who replaced Ishan Kishan, and Mukesh Kumar were the covers for the playing XI. Considering that, Rinku was included by the team for fielding.

With Abhimanyu Easwaran, involved in the India A-South Africa A game till Friday, and Avesh Khan, who replaced Shami, joining the squad, there is sufficient cover for any exigency on the field for the second and final Test in Cape Town. Both Easwaran and Khan have joined the squad in Johannesburg. Jadeja also, one learns, will be available for selection for the Newlands Test, starting on January 3.

Low-key New Year celebrations

It'll be a low-key New Year for Indian team in SA

The New Year celebrations will be quite a low-key affair for the Indian players in South Africa. Having lost the first Test at Centurion, the mood in the camp, understandably, is not upbeat but more than that the Indian team has been advised to exercise caution while venturing out.

This advisory is in light of security concerns in South African cities, where various forms of street crimes, such as mugging, robbery, theft, snatching, pick-pocketing, are commonly observed. "Not serious but the general safety precautions we have to take, as usual," a player confided with Cricbuzz.

Consequently, none of the players will be attending the Year-End celebrations in Cape Town, known for its carnival-like festivities at the iconic Waterfront, as a precautionary measure although Cape Town is relatively a safer city as compared to others places in South Africa.

The crime statistics for the third quarter of the current year reportedly reveal challenges for authorities with violent crimes. According to one report, the country's per capita murder rate for 2022/23 reached its highest in 20 years at 45 per 100,000, marking a 50% increase compared to 2012/13.

The Indian team is scheduled to return home on January 8.




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