National bodies have moved to take preventive action amid growing COVID-19 concerns around the world with the Sri Lanka-England Tests and India-South Africa ODIs being postponed indefinitely.
The COVID-19 has been recently categorised as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, in the wake of an increasing number of cases being reported from around the world. Cricket boards have since moved to take various measures to prioritise the well-being of players, fans and other stakeholders. After a number of boards moved to play matches behind closed doors, England and Sri Lanka decided to postpone the series altogether. Later on Friday, India and South Africa too agreed to reschedule the series to a later date.
"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 statement from ECB read.
BREAKING: England's two-Test series in Sri Lanka has been postponed due to the current coronavirus pandemic. pic.twitter.com/zMKtgK6rRK— ICC (@ICC) March 13, 2020
"At this time, the physical and mental well-being of our players and support teams is paramount. We will now look to bring them home to their families as soon as possible."
BCCI had initially decided to hold the remaining two ODIs behind closed doors after the first match was washed out but have now decided to reschedule the series. "The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) along with Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Friday announced to reschedule the ongoing ODI series in view of the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) outbreak," the official statement said.
Earlier the same day, BCCI also announced that the IPL will be postponed to 15 April from the initial start date of 29 March. Cricket Australia has decided to disallow entry to audiences for the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand, while the Australia women's tour of South Africa has been cancelled.
Some of the other cricket events affected are the sixth series of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup League 2 and Netherlands' tour of Namibia among others, including a few domestic competitions.