In light of the breakout of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, Cricket Australia and the Board of Control for Cricket in India have announced that their teams’ home ODI series, against New Zealand and South Africa respectively, will be played behind closed doors.
The three ODIs between Australia and New Zealand, and the remaining two between India and South Africa, however, will continue to be televised.
CA has also suspended the women’s tour of South Africa, which was supposed to feature three ODIs and as many T20Is, between March 12 and April 4.
Aaron Finch has won the toss and opted to bat in the first #AUSvNZ ODI in Sydney.
The series will be played behind closed doors due to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. pic.twitter.com/ci5BLJk1jc
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) March 13, 2020
“We believe this is the right decision to minimise the risk of public exposure to the coronavirus, which the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic on Thursday,” said CA chief executive Kevin Roberts.
“Cricket Australia has been monitoring the coronavirus situation for several weeks, particularly looking at advice provided by DFAT and other relevant government agencies, including the Australian Institute of Sport, which has outlined a coordinated approach for all Australian sports. We have also consulted with an infectious diseases specialist.
“Our players and staff have been adopting recommended sanitary practices during this time to minimise the chance of exposure and will continue to do so.”
On Wednesday, Sri Lanka recorded its first confirmed coronavirus case.
The first Test starts in Galle, in a week’s time.https://t.co/jayVKv0oat
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) March 12, 2020
The first two ODIs will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, before the teams travel to Hobart for the final game of the series.
Meanwhile, the BCCI continues to follow the advisories issued by the government of India. The first India-South Africa ODI in Dharamsala was abandoned due to rain on Thursday, March 13. The final two ODIs will be played in Lucknow and Kolkata respectively.
“The BCCI is making every effort for compliance with the regulatory bodies of the Government of India and ensure the safety of our athletes and valued fans,” a press statement from the governing body said.
“The BCCI will continue to take guidance from the Government of India and state regulatory bodies.”
The COVID-19 threat has pushed most of upcoming tournaments behind closed doors in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. It hasn’t been any different for T20 leagues around the globe, with PSL matches in Karachi, too, set to be played without spectators, as in all likeliness, is the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League.