The India vs South Africa ODI series has been hit by the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. The BCCI confirmed in a press release on Thursday that the two remaining matches in the series – the March 15 match in Lucknow and the March 18 match in Kolkata – will be held behind closed doors.
“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.
“The BCCI has been working closely with the Government of India along with Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the wake of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak,” it added.
“The BCCI is making every effort for compliance with the regulatory bodies of the Government of India and ensure the safety of our athletes and valued fans.”
The sports ministry had 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.
The Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) had confirmed in the evening itself that Lucknow ODI will be held behind closed doors while the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has also put ticket sales on hold with immediate effect, an indicator of things to come.
UPCA secretary Yudhveer Singh confirmed the development to the reporters in Lucknow on Thursday.
“After receiving the government advisory, we had a discussion with BCCI officials and then decided that spectators will be barred from entering the stadium during second ODI between India and South Africa on March 15,” Yudhveer said.
The CAB has decided to put ticket sales on hold, informed president Avishek Dalmiya, who also met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat in Kolkata to discuss the prevailing situation.
“I met our honourable CM at the secretariat. We would like to adhere to the government directive that has been issued today and we are stopping all ticket sales with immediate effect. We will wait till further directive,” Dalmiya told PTI from Kolkata reported PTI.