The Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru is likely to host the limited-overs series between India and South Africa in March after Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) expressed its inability to host the series at the Greenfield Sports Hub Stadium in Thiruvanthapuram. India and  South Africa will play five ODIs and three T20Is, although the official announcement is yet to come.

KCA secretary Sreejith V Nair earlier said to PTI that they were about to host eight games (three ODIs and five T20Is) from the first week of March as well as a 14-day training camp prior to the series. But the stadium authorities have already allocated the ground for an army recruitment rally at that time. As of now, the KCA has a caretaking agreement with the authorities, IL & FS, of the Sports Hub as well.

“IL & FS did not even inform us while booking the stadium on dates clashing with the women’s series. It is a violation of our MoU with them. We have written to the BCCI expressing our inability to host the games,” said Nair.

“KCA had the full support of the Kerala government and the Sports Minister, but schedule clash became the hurdle in hosting the matches. If the state government doesn’t intervene, the Greenfield Stadium will soon become unusable,” KCA president Sajan Varghese and secretary Sreejith Nair jointly said in a statement.

With the KCA’s withdrawal, Bengaluru became the front-runner to host the India-South Africa series.

“Bengaluru is a good option but again with the COVID-19 still very much around, we are dependent on government permission and the logistics too need to be worked out. We are still targeting the first week of March to start the series,” a BCCI source said to PTI.

However, this series will mark the return of the Indian team to international cricket, who had last featured against Australia in the final of the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia in Melbourne. However, the Indian players had featured in the Women’s T20 Challenge in the UAE during the IPL 2020, there were no other domestic matches for them. On the other hand, South Africa have recently played against Pakistan at home where they successfully won the series in both ODIs and T20Is.

Since the series will take place in a bio-secure bubble, both the teams need to assemble at least two weeks prior to the first game where they will go through the mandatory quarantine period for six days.

“The players have been training at their respective centres but of course they will need at least 10 days to train together before the series. They have been away from the game for a long time now,” the source further added.

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