The global outbreak of COVID-19 also known as Coronavirus has been affecting sporting events a lot. Every sport from golf to football has been hit and entire tournaments are being rescheduled or even getting cancelled as a precautionary measure, keeping in mind the safety of the people in and around such events. Cricket tournaments have also taken a hit with many of them getting rescheduled or cancelled due to this outbreak.
At every level, the sport of cricket has been feeling the effects of the outbreak and the players are missing out on a lot of on-field time. Owing to the virus’ highly contagious nature, matches have been shifted to indoors and the ones being played are also under the scanner of the officials who are working hard to make sure that both the spectators and the players remain safe.
Here’s a look at 5 such tournaments that were affected or called off due to the Coronavirus outbreak
1. Road Safety World Series
The tournament that had been played halfway through and was progressing in a really great way, had to be cut short because of the spread of COVID-19. Many legendary cricketers had gathered to make a spectacle to behold, but the joy of the fans, who were flocking to the stadium and were glued to the TV screens, was overshadowed by the decision of cancelling the remainder of the tournament.
The matches were seeing attendees in huge numbers and players like Irfan Pathan, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Brett Lee, Yuvraj Singh and the like were putting in their best to make the experience of the fans, the best they could.
Initially, it was decided that the series would be continued behind closed doors, but things like players flying back to their countries, citing the virus outbreak as a threat and various government advisories propelled the eventual cancellation of the tournament. This decision was made after a meeting which had government officials, major players and the organisers discussing the future of the series.
2. Ireland Tour of Thailand
The quadrangular series that was scheduled to be played between the women’s team from Ireland, Netherlands, Zimbabwe and Thailand was called off on the 2nd of March owing to the threat from the widespread coronavirus. The hosts of the series Thailand were the ones who requested the cancellation of the tournament.
The tournament that was to be played as a preparatory series ahead of the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Sri Lanka in July. But the outbreak led to the series being called off. The news was announced by the spokesperson of the Cricket Association of Thailand, who made it clear that the step was taken in the wake of the threat to the safety of the players due to COVID-19 in the country and everywhere across the globe.
Cricket Ireland’s Performance Director also spoke about the matter and said that while it was disappointing to call off the tournament, but since there was a direct and a deadly threat to the players’ conditions, it had to be done. He told that the board will be working to get alternate matches for the team as they are necessary for the team in order to let them prepare for the qualifiers.
3. Asia XI vs World XI T20 series
The much anticipated Asia XI and World XI T20 series also fell prey to the outbreak and had to be postponed. The decision of postponing the tournament was announced on the 11th of March, which is just 10 days before the start of the series.
After the news broke out, it was confirmed by the President of the Bangladesh Cricket Board that it was the outbreak that had caused the tournament to be called off for now. But, the fans, will be getting to see their favourite players from across the continent, as it was also affirmed that the series had been postponed and will be held on later dates, once the situation improves.
If everything would have been fine, the two matches of the series would have been played on the 21st and 22nd of March. The tournament was all set to see participation from players from India too, which included names of KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Shami. The squads had been announced and everything was set. But, this untimely outbreak caused the series to be postponed.
4. 2020 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Eastern Regional T20
The 2020 Asian Cricket Council Eastern Regional T20 Tournament played in Thailand saw as many as three of the eight participating teams, pulling out citing Coronavirus as a threat. But, China, Bhutan and Myanmar, decided not to be a part of the tournament.
The eight-team tournament progressed forward with only five teams, namely Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal and Thailand. This was the first-ever official T20 International Tournament being played in Thailand, and they would have been expecting to conduct it in the best possible and hassle freeway.
This tournament is a part of the qualifying stages for the Asia Cup, as the top two teams of the tournament, would go on to compete for the place in the Asia Cup. And the teams that managed to bag the first and the second place were Singapore and Thailand respectively and they will now have a chance to play in the tournament qualifiers in UAE if they are not affected by the virus outbreak.
5. Worcestershire’s pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi
Joining the list of county clubs cancelling their tour to Abu Dhabi was Worcestershire, when the club on Wednesday announced that it will not be travelling to the Emirate for their pre-season tour, as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus outbreak.
The county club was supposed to spend 11 days in Abu Dhabi and train for the upcoming county cricket season in England. But now that won’t be happening as it has been decided by the Worcestershire Cricket Club’s governing body that it will not be travelling. A statement that was given by the club regarding the same read, ‘Contingency plans at WCCC have been worked on since mid-February 2020 and we hope to be in a position to update members when these plans are concluded shortly.’
This is the second set back for the club this year, as even their first home match that will be played starting from 25th of April has been shifted to Kidderminster Cricket Club instead of New road. Worcestershire isn’t the only club that has called off its travel plans. Earlier, even Lancashire Cricket Club called off its tour of South Africa and Dubai, citing the same reason for the cancellation.
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