Australia-New Zealand ODIs behind closed doors

Australia’s one-day series against New Zealand will be played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic while the T20I matches at the end of the month in New Zealand are in doubt.

A few hours previously it had been confirmed that the Australia Women’s tour of South Africa would not be taking place.

The two ODIs in Sydney on Friday and Sunday and the final match in Hobart on March 20 will take place as scheduled but spectators won’t be admitted.

The final round of Sheffield Shield matches which start on March 17 and the final from March 27-31 will currently take place as planned.

After the New Zealand tour at the end of this month the next trip for Australia is the two-Test tour of Bangladesh in June followed by a tour to England in July. A significant number of Australian players are due to take part in the IPL which starts on March 29 that appears set to take place behind closed doors.

“We have taken strong action today in the face of an unprecedented public health issue,” Kevin Roberts, the Cricket Australia chief executive, said. “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.

“We understand that these changes to our schedule will impact many, but we hope our community will understand that the public health and safety issues caused by the coronavirus must take priority over sport at this time. This is not an issue specific to cricket.

“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.”

Alex Kountouris, Cricket Australia’s Sports Science and Sports Medicine Manager, said the actions taken were in keeping with advice received about the coronavirus pandemic.

“These were not decisions taken lightly, but they are the most responsible courses of action based on expert advice,” Kountouris said. “The health and safety of everyone in the cricket family is paramount and our actions reflect that.

“This is an unprecedented global health situation and, as we’ve seen around the world, serious measures have been taken by many organisations to limit the spread of coronavirus. We are among those.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and consult with relevant experts in relation to future matches and series.”

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