India vs South Africa 1st ODI Photograph:( AFP )
Complying to the advisory issued by the Health Ministry, the BCCI has decided to avoid mass gatherings and will conduct remaining two ODI matches with no spectators in the stadium.
With the novel coronavirus spreading like a wildfire, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have decided to hold the remaining two matches of the India versus South Africa ODI series behind closed doors. Complying to the advisory issued by the Health Ministry, the BCCI has decided to avoid mass gatherings and will conduct remaining two ODI matches with no spectators in the stadium.
The BCCI's decision came after the Sports Ministry's advisory to all national sports federations to follow the Health Ministry's advisory and avoid large gatherings in sports events.
“The BCCI is in receipt of the sports ministry’s advisory. Obviously, if we are advised to avoid large gatherings, we will have to abide by it,” a BCCI source told PTI.
The next two ODIs between India and South Africa are scheduled to be held in Lucknow and Kolkata on March 15 and 18 respectively. Meanwhile, the first ODI which was to be hosted in Dharamsala without a ball being bowled due to rain.
Earlier, Union Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya clarified that if a sports event is unavoidable then it should be conducted without any public gathering.
“All national federations, including the BCCI, have been told to adhere to the guidelines and advisory issued by the ministry of health and public welfare. We have also told them to avoid any public gathering and if a sporting event has to be organised, it should be done without gathering of people.
“It is the state government who has to manage the crowd and who has the power under the epidemic diseases act (Epidemic Act of 1897). If it is unavoidable and it has to be organised, then they should do it without collecting the crowd,” he pointed.
While ongoing India versus South Africa, three-match ODI series may not fall under the 'unavoidable' category, the same can't be said about the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 which is scheduled to kickstart from March 29. While postponement or cancellation of IPL 2020 is seen as a far-stretched idea, it is highly likely that the matches could be played behind closed doors.