Coronavirus: South African cricketers scared, stranded

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KOLKATA: The South African cricket team will stick to their original plan of flying out of India from Kolkata, but are likely to be put up at a Rajarhat hotel, close to the airport, instead of a hotel in Alipore, closer to Eden Gardens. The Proteas, who were scheduled to play India in the third…

KOLKATA: The South African cricket team will stick to their original plan of flying out of India from Kolkata, but are likely to be put up at a Rajarhat hotel, close to the airport, instead of a hotel in Alipore, closer to Eden Gardens.

The Proteas, who were scheduled to play India in the third ODI at the Eden on Wednesday, will take a Tuesday morning flight from Kolkata to Dubai en route South Africa.

The first ODI in Dharamsala was washed out and the teams travelled to Lucknow after it was announced that the final two games will be played behind closed doors following an advisory from the Union sports ministry that public gatherings during sports events should be avoided because of the coronavirus outbreak. The BCCI subsequently called off the series.

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CAB president Avishek Dalmiya said, “Authorities wanted them to stay closer to the airport, hence Westin was the best option. CAB will arrange doctors to provide support. Our office bearers will be there too. We are in touch with BCCI as well as Bengal government officials. The Bidhannagar Police Commissioner is also looking into the matter.”

L.N. Meena, the Bidhannagar CP, refused to specify details, saying that a final decision has not been taken. A senior Westin official said, “Should any such decision be taken, we are ready to host the South African cricket team. All precautionary health measures according to the Central and state directives will be taken.”


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A written query to the Alipore hotel evoked no response.


A senior Bengal government official said that the South Africans were originally scheduled to stay in a city hotel. “However, with the match being called off, it was felt the South African team should stay in a hotel closer to the airport. Accordingly, the BCCI was informed today when we learnt that the SA team is sticking to their Kolkata travel schedule. Wherever the team stays, all necessary health precautions will be taken as the Central and state health mandates,” the official said.


According to Dalmiya, “They (SA team) will land here tomorrow (Monday) afternoon and leave day after morning. We have briefed the chief minister about the developments.”


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