The coronavirus outbreak has hit cricket hard, as three teams – China, Bhutan and Myanmar – withdrew from the 2020 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Eastern Regional T20 tournament.
The tournament – the first official men’s T20I tournament staged in Thailand – started on Saturday, with the hosts suffering a three-wicket loss to Singapore. It is part of the qualifying pathway for the Asia Cup 2020, with the finalists from each region getting a chance to compete in the main qualifier.
However, according to a report in Gulf News, China, Bhutan and Myanmar all withdrew due to the coronavirus outbreak. Thailand has been badly affected by the disease, with 42 cases of Covid-19 being reported in the country at the time of writing.
A golf tournament that was set to be staged in Thailand – the 2020 LPGA Thailand – was cancelled due to the coronavirus, while the Women’s World Championship in Singapore was also cancelled.
The cornavirus outbreak has also put Ireland’s tour of Thailand in April under threat.
Despite the withdrawal of three sides, the ACC decided to continue staging the Eastern Regional T20, with five teams now competing in it – Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Nepal and the hosts Thailand.
A total of 10 matches will be played between February 29 and March 6 at the Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok.