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Cricket Australia Cancels Last Round Of Sheffield Shield Games, Decision On Final Later Due To Coronavirus Scare

Cricket Australia Has Cancelled The Last Round Of Sheffield Shield Games And The Title Could Be Declared Vacant For The First Time Since The Second World War Due To The Coronavirus Pandemic That Has Affected Global Sports.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Siddharth Vishwanathan | Updated on: 15 Mar 2020, 03:12:53 PM
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There are reports that the Sheffield Shield title could be left vacant for the first time since the Second World War due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

New Delhi:

The coronavirus scare has cast it's shadow of gloom even in Australian cricket. After the Australia vs New Zealand series was postponed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Sheffield Shield, Australia's premier first-class competition is also under the scanner. Cricket Australia announced the cancellation of the final round of the competition due to the rising threat of the coronavirus pandemic. Cricket Australia, however, deferred a decision on the final, scheduled to be played from March 27 but there are reports that the title could be left vacant for the first time since the Second World War.

Making the announcement, Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts said the decision was being made in order to reduce travel and ensure the coronavirus would not be spread. "At times like this, cricket must take a back seat for the greater good. We have been in consultation with relevant government agencies, our own medical team and an infectious diseases expert for quite some time now, and we have taken all their advice into account in making these decisions. The decisions are not something we are accustomed to in cricket ... it has become evident that we must play our part in helping limit the spread of the virus by reducing person-to-person contact wherever possible. These measures reflect that," Roberts said.

The ODI series between Australia and New Zealand was postponed due to the Coronavirus. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Spectators had already been banned from the three matches due to be played this week at the WACA in Perth, Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide and Melbourne's Junction Oval. In the final round matches, due to begin Tuesday, South Australia were to host Queensland while NSW were to travel to play Western Australia in Perth. Victoria were set to host Tasmania from Thursday. One option being considered by CA is awarding the New South Wales team, the current league leaders, the title if the final cannot be played. If that happens, it would be the state's 47th Shield title, and first since the 2013-14 summer.

If the public health situation improves in the next week, the final may proceed as planned with Victoria likely to be the Blues' opponents. Victoria, the defending champions, have won four of the past five Shield titles, including beating NSW in last year's decider in Melbourne.

Coronavirus In Australia

The ODI series between Australia and New Zealand became the latest victim to the coronavirus pandemic as the ongoing clashes were postponed due to the COVID_19 scare. The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on their Twitter handle, "The ongoing #AUSvNZ ODI series and Australia's upcoming away series in New Zealand have both been postponed amid growing COVID-19 concerns."

The announcement means that the next two games at Sydney and Hobart on March 15 and March 20 have been postponed while Australia's tour to New Zealand, which would involve three-match Twenty20 International in Dunedin on March 24, Auckland on March 27 and Christchurch on March 29 have also been postponed. The move comes in the wake of New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson and Australia fast bowler Kane Richardson were tested for the coronavirus pandemic.

Also Read Australia vs New Zealand ODI And T20I Series Postponed Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

Richardson was cleared of the virus while Ferguson was also cleared of the coronavirus after complaining of a sore throat following Australia's 71-run win in the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground. This comes in the wake of the Australia women's team tour of South Africa which was postponed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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First Published : 15 Mar 2020, 03:12:53 PM