It has started with the postponement of the Indian Premier League in the morning, by the evening the Coronavirus fear has taken toll of another major cricket event in India.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India sources have confirmed the decision to call off the One Day International home series against South Africa. The second game of the three-match series was slated for Sunday, March 15, at Lucknow. This is the second major call in the corridors of power of Indian cricket in a single day after the compulsion to postpone the IPL.
After the first game at Dharamshala was washed out without a ball being bowled yesterday (Thursday), the BCCI had decided to go ahead with the series in spite of the rising Coronavirus concerns. However, it was decided the spectators will not be allowed for the matches at Lucknow and Kolkata (March 18).
However, due to the rising threat of COVID-19 outbreak the BCCI had finally decided to call off the series against the Proteas.
“With the IPL being postponed, it only made sense that at this point of time, this series is also called off. The country is facing a serious pandemic,” PTI has quoted a top BCCI official as saying.
The Proteas will now fly home from Delhi, where they had arrived via Dubai on March 9. “The South African team will come to Delhi and leave by taking at the earliest available flight”.
The matches were earlier planned to be held behind closed doors due to the government directive, which asked for sporting events to be shut for fans in view of the pandemic. The IPL was on Friday pushed to April 15 from its scheduled March 29 start.
India has recorded more than 80 positive cases so far with the global infected count standing at over 1.34 lakh The death toll because of the virus has gone beyond 5,000 internationally.
Uttar Pradesh, the State where the second ODI were to be held, has seen a total of 11 Coronavirus cases while in Lucknow, the venue for the ODI, three cases have been one confirmed.
Earlier today, the England and Wales Cricket Board has also called back their team from the tour of Sri Lanka. The English players, who are participating in the Pakistan Super League, too are returning home. The Australian women cricket team too have put off their tour of South Africa.