Covid-19 in Sports: Ind-SA ODI Series Called Off, Reports PTI


Sports events across the globe are getting cancelled or postponed due to Coronavirus.
The Quint
Sports events across the globe are getting cancelled or postponed due to Coronavirus. | (Photo: BCCI)
Sports

Ind-SA ODIs Called Off

The two remaining ODIs between India and South Africa in Lucknow and Kolkata have been called off owing to the COVID-19 threat as the country's sports calendar continued to go haywire because of the global pandemic.

"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," a top BCCI official told PTI.

Premier League Suspended

The Football Association (FA) of England on Friday announced that all professional club football activities in the country have been suspended until April 3 at the earliest. This includes the Premier League, the lower tiers of football in the country that constitute the Football League and the FA Womens Super League and FA Womens Championship.

It also includes all cup competitions such as the FA Cup and the women's FA Cup along with junior competitions.

"The decision is being made purely on the number of cases requiring self-isolation and the impact on facilities. Given the steps being taken across clubs, there is no alternative but for today's action. However, all parties are committed at this time to trying to complete this season's domestic fixture programme and are liaising to establish appropriate options to do so," said the FA in its statement.

PSL's Overseas Players Returning Home

Nine foreign cricketers, including the English trio of Jason Roy, Alex Hales and James Vince, have decided to leave the Pakistan Super League and return home on Friday owing to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), however, said the PSL will continue as scheduled despite the withdrawal of the overseas players.

"What is paramount is we are giving options to all the players and support personnel to withdraw from the league if they want too as ensuring they feel comfortable remains top priority of the PCB," PCB CEO Wasim Khan said.

England players Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Tymal Mills, Liam Dawson, Liam Livingstone, Lewis Gregory, James Vince, West Indian Carlos Braithwaite, South African Rilee Roussouw and James Foster (Coach) will be returning home from the PSL, the Board said.

Richardson Returns Negative

Australian pacer Kane Richardson has tested negative for COVID-19, paving the way for his return to Australia's squad after being ruled out of the first ODI against New Zealand owing to a sore throat.

The right-arm pacer, who returned with the Australian team from South Africa earlier this week, had informed the medical staff of a sore throat on Thursday and was sent for a precautionary testing for the novel coronavirus.

The test results returned negative and he was on his way to the Sydney Cricket Ground, where the first ODI against New Zealand is taking place.

England Call Off SL Tour

The English Cricket Board decided to postpone their tour of Sri Lanka. The team is already in the country for over a week and were midway through a warm-up game when the board announced their decision.

"Due to the Covid-19 pandemic worsening globally, and after discussions with Sri Lanka Cricket, we have today made the decision to return our players to the UK and postpone the forthcoming Test series between Sri Lanka and England" the ECB said in a release.

England and Sri Lanka were scheduled to play a 2-Test series with matches starting 19 and 27 March.

TT Events Suspended

The world table tennis body suspended "all activities" until the end of April, joining a long list of sporting casualties of the new coronavirus outbreak.

The International Table Tennis Federation suspension, from Monday, affects a number of tournaments around the world, as well as training and promotional activities.

"Following the declaration by the World Health Organization of COVID-19 as a pandemic and the increased number of international travel restrictions, the ITTF has decided to suspend all activities provisionally, with the health and safety of athletes, coaches, officials and fans as the top priority," a statement said.

BCCI Moves Start Date of IPL 2020

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to postpone the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League and while it was originally set to start from March 29, it will now be held from April 15.

The same has been conveyed to the franchises.

“The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to suspend IPL 2020 till 15th April 2020, as a precautionary measure against the ongoing Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) situation.

The BCCI is concerned and sensitive about all its stakeholders, and public health in general, and it is taking all necessary steps to ensure that, all people related to IPL including fans have a safe cricketing experience,” the BCCI said in an official release.

FIFA Suspends South American WC Qualifiers

FIFA has postponed the start of the South American zone's 2022 World Cup qualifiers slated for March-end in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement came a day after the South American Football Confederation, CONMEBOL, told FIFA that each of its 10 member-federations were opposed to staging the first two rounds of qualifiers from March 26 to 31, as scheduled.

"FIFA will continue to assess the situation in relation to COVID-19 and will decide whether further changes to the schedule of South American FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers are required, always with the aim of protecting the health and safety of all individuals involved," said FIFA in a statement on Thursday.

IPL Banned in Delhi

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has announced at a press conference the capital that the city will not be hosting an IPL matches this season.

“We have decided to ban any sports activity where people will gather in huge numbers like IPL. Social distancing is important to curb the breakout of Coronavirus,” he said.

NBA Suspended for "At Least" a Month

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has that the league's hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic will likely last at least a month, or roughly what would have been the remainder of an uninterrupted regular season.

“What we determined today is that this hiatus will be, most likely, at least 30 days," Silver said on TNT's "Inside The NBA" while making his first public comments since the league suspended play Wednesday night after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, or COVID-19. A second Jazz player, Donovan Mitchell, said Thursday that he has also tested positive.

Aus Pacer in Quarantine

Australian pacer Kane Richardson has been left out of the first ODI vs NZ while his Coronavirus test is awaited.

Australian fast bowler Kane Richardson has been tested for Coronavirus after he reported illness and is sitting out of the first ODI against New Zealand on Friday.

The right-arm pacer, who returned with the Australian team from South Africa earlier this week, informed the medical staff of a sore throat on Thursday and was tested for the virus, though the results of the test are awaited.

"Our medical staff are treating this as a typical throat infection but we are following Australian Government protocols that require us to keep Kane away from other members of the squad and perform the appropriate tests given he has returned from international travel in the last 14 days," a Cricket Australia spokesperson was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

No Crowds at Ind-SA ODI Series

The remaining two one-dayers between India and South Africa will be played in empty stadiums in Lucknow and Kolkata, the BCCI confirmed on Thursday.

The matches are scheduled to be held in March 15 (Lucknow) and March 18 (Kolkata).

The sports ministry has issued an advisory that in case it's unavoidable to postpone a sporting event, then it is preferable that it be conducted without a large public gathering.

"After holding discussions with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) and Ministry Of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), the BCCI on Thursday announced that the remaining two One-day Internationals of the three-match series of South Africa tour of India, 2020, will be played without any public gathering, including spectators," a BCCI media release stated.

Aussie Sports Take Big Hit

Just a few hours into Friday and already national sports bodies have made some tough decisions in an attempt to avoid the spread of Coronavirus.

As the Australian Formula One Grand Prix was being called off in Melbourne, Cricket Australia announced that three one-day international matches between Australia and New Zealand would be played in empty stadiums. The first of the three began Friday afternoon at the 48,000-seat Sydney Cricket Ground, where television announcers spoke of the "eerie" silence in the stadium devoid of fans.

Cricket Australia also announced that the women's national team's six-match tour to South Africa would be put off indefinitely.

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Published: 13 Mar 2020,12:04 PM IST