The South African cricketers could avoid the customary handshakes during their stay in India, head coach Mark Boucher has said as the number of reported positive coronavirus cases in the country crossed 40 on Monday.
The number of positive cases in India stands at 43 at the moment and the South African team that landed in the national capital for three ODIs in the wee hours of Monday, will 'strictly adhere' to the healthcare protocols.
"With regards to handshakes and type of stuff that's concern, so it will probably be fine if we do the same if it comes to that. I think it's a way to stop anything from happening to our guys," Boucher told the media during his pre-departure press conference when asked about shaking hands with the opposition team's players.
"I think it's out of respect for players around you and not to pass on something that you might have," the former Proteas stumper added.
South Africa went ahead with the tour only after their medical and security team gave a go-ahead after doing a risk assessment.
"Look we have a security staff and if we have medical concerns, we give it to them and they come up with recommendations. If they think its too dangerous, they will pull us out and they are no different," he said.
"Covid19 is a concern and that's what they have been briefed," said Boucher.
"We had a nice brief last night from medical staff about the virus going around is that its a major concern. We are not medical people and we don't know medicine like they do. So we have taken their recommendations and I am sure they have put stuff in places that's going to help us."
No selfies, fan interactions for players during SA series
The cricket crazy fans love getting up close and personal with star cricketers, something that might not be possible in the wake of rising number of coronavirus cases in India.
Currently, 43 people have been tested positive for coronavirus in India with a sizeable number being Italian tourists.
It could well start with the upcoming three-match ODI series against South Africa where the likes of Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis have been briefed about health safety measures, including restrictions on fan interactions and selfies among other things.
But it will not be restricted to the South Africa series alone. In the Indian Premier League, starting on March 29, the BCCI could also impose some strict health-related guidelines which will bar a cluster of fans from engaging with players, trying to shake hands or come close for selfies.
"Players have been briefed on preventive measures while they are travelling overseas. These measures cover a variety of protocols to follow for the safety of both themselves and those around them. Fan interaction, selfies and pictures were included in the brief," a source close to the South African team management said.
There has been specific health advisory on avoiding large gatherings and the South African team's medical unit and their security officers are expected to take appropriate measures to ensure that the players don't get mobbed for selfies.
In fact, South Africa head coach Mark Boucher has indicated that his players might also do away with handshakes during the India series if the medical team instructs, similar to the guidelines that England players will be adhering to during the Sri Lanka series.
There have been suggestions about having IPL matches being played closed doors as the matches will be available on television as well as streamed live on digital platforms.
However, a senior BCCI official said that having IPL closed doors is not an option.
"Did you guys check out what was the attendance during the ATK vs Bengaluru FC Indian Super League play-off game? It was close to 60,000 (50,000 plus). So why would we bar public viewing?" he questioned.
However, he didn't rule out issuing a health advisory which will prevent players from attending large gatherings.
The problem with IPL is that all franchises more or less have fan engagement activities, which is a part of their sponsorship commitments.
It is still not clear whether franchises will curtail the number of fan engagement programmes that they organise during the course of the tournament.