MARLOW - 2019 Test Matches: India Great Britain v India (W) Photo: WORLDSPORTPICS COPYRIGHT WILL PALMER

A planned Summer Series tournament in South Africa this month, featuring Great Britain men, has been cancelled due to the new coronavirus variant, it has been reported.

The event was set to be held in Cape Town from Jan 10-27, with Belgium, Great Britain, India, France and hosts South Africa some of the men’s teams due to play.

“The decision to do so was taken after a risk assessment was done regarding the rising Covid-19 infection numbers in the Western Cape area,” Marissa Langeni, South African Hockey’s chief executive, told The Times of India.

The cancellation is a blow to those non-European teams who didn’t play any autumn Pro League matches.

It means that India have yet to play a fixture since last February. Their next slated tournament is the Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka, due to be played in March.

Meanwhile, India women have travelled to Argentina for their first matches on foreign soil since a trip to New Zealand last January – a welcome boost in their first preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.

Led by Rani Rampal, India are due to play four matches against world No. 2 Argentina and several warm-up games this month.

“It feels amazing to be touring again,” Rani told reporters prior to departure.

Ireland women are also set to play five unofficial friendly games in Murcia against Spain from January 10-17.