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‘Coronavirus bigger than cricket, needs to be taken very seriously’ – Paine backs sporting cancellations

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Tim Paine, the Australia Test captain, stated that the novel coronavirus pandemic is bigger than the game, and praised Cricket Australia’s decision to ban all competitive cricket amid the outbreak.

After the men’s limited-overs series against trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand and the women’s tour of South Africa were abandoned due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Cricket Australia confirmed New South Wales as the Sheffield Shield 2019/20 champions, after having called off the final round of matches earlier this week.

Paine justified the decision of cricket being cancelled at all levels, and while that has come at a time of what could’ve been an exciting season, he called for the move to be respected and taken seriously.

“There’s no doubt it’s been a big week for our cricket community,” Paine said in a video posted by Cricket Australia on Twitter on Wednesday, March 18. “Some decisions have been made in the best interests of our country and our most vulnerable people. One of those decisions has been to cancel all cricket.

“As hard as it is for all cricketers at the moment, I think it is time that we take a break. I know it’s even harder this time of year when you’ve got finals and trophies on the line and it’s all there to be won, but this is bigger than us, bigger than the game of cricket, it’s something that needs to be taken very seriously.”

Paine, who leads Tasmania in the competition, admitted that he would’ve loved to be in action, besides watching the international men’s and women’s team against New Zealand and South Africa respectively, but acknowledged that the game has been halted for a “very very good reason”.

“I would certainly love to be playing with Tasmania right now in the hunt for a Sheffield Shield final, and there’s no doubt our Australian men’s team would love to be in Hobart trying to win the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy and certainly our female world champion team would love to be in South Africa. But we’re not, and for very very good reason,” said the 35-year-old.

“I hope that we’re all back playing the game we love and going about our lives the way we want to as soon as possible, but in the meantime, please take care of yourselves, take care of others and let’s ride this out together.”

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