13 Mar

In the rapidly changing virus-hit sporting arena, cricket has begun to feel the force of unprecedented precautions which are being taken by the various sporting bodies around the world. In addition to football’s Premier League and EFL fixture suspensions in England; the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the USA suspending their league indefinitely; motor racing’s Formula 1 Season being suspended until May and golf’s Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass being abandoned after one round, cricket fixtures have been hit equally hard across the globe.  


The start of the 2020 Indian Premier League season has been delayed from 29 March to 15 April as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said the move was a "precautionary measure".

The competition was due to run from 29 March to 24 May. England start a home Test series against West Indies on 4 June and had asked players to be back in the country by 26 May, but it is unclear whether that deadline will have to be moved.

England's Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Jason Roy, Chris Jordan, Harry Gurney, Eoin Morgan, Tom Banton, Tom Curran, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow are all signed up to play in the IPL.

In addition, the two remaining ODIs between India and South Africa in Lucknow and Kolkata were cancelled.


The decision has also been made for the England players, currently in Sri Lanka and about to start a Test Series, to return to the UK. The ECB stated “these are completely unprecedented times, and decisions like this go beyond cricket. We look forward to returning to Sri Lanka in the very near future to fulfil this important Test series”.


The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced that the sixth series of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 has been postponed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The six One Day Internationals (ODI) were scheduled between 1 and 8 April at Broward County Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with hosts United States, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates all competing. Due to the rapidly developing heath emergency, including the increasing travel restrictions between countries and potential uncertainty arising for individuals returning to their country of origin, the decision was taken to postpone the series.

The seven teams competing in the tournament are: Scotland, USA, United Arab Emirates, Papua New Guinea, Oman, Nepal and Namibia.

The teams are competing to ultimately qualify for the Super League of the Men’s World Cup which includes the likes of England, India and Australia, The competition will be hosted by India in 2023.  


Yesterday it was announced that Australia's one-day internationals against New Zealand which were due to start today will be played behind closed doors.


The Pakistan Super League (PSL) has scrapped its four-match play-off, turning the knockout stage into a two-day affair with semi-finals and a final, as the league copes with the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. As many as ten overseas players and an overseas coach are also leaving because of the developments and fears over travel restrictions. The rejig shaves four days off the schedule even though it reduces the total match count by just one.

Earlier, the play-offs were to run from March 17 to March 22, the first match in Karachi and the remaining three in Lahore. Now, the semi-final double-header will be on March 17 and the final on March 18, all at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium.

A large contingent of English players were among the most significant to pull out from from the PSL because of the pandemic. Peshawar Zalmi's Tom Banton, Liam Livingstone, Lewis Gregory and Carlos Brathwaite, as well as Multan Sultans' James Vince and Karachi Kings' Alex Hales, were among the first to confirm their departures, and the list has since expanded to include Peshawar's Liam Dawson and coach James Foster, Multan's Rilee Rossouw, and Jason Roy and Tymal Mills of Quetta Gladiators.

The PCB has also confirmed that the remaining matches would be played behind closed doors, and all local and overseas players and support staff members have been given the option to pull out.

"Today, the PCB and the team owners, as part of their duty of care, have decided to give all the players the option to decide if they wish to return home," the PCB said in a statement. "Ensuring that the players feel comfortable remains paramount to the PCB. As of now, it is important to emphasise and clarify that the main concern of many of the 10 players and a coach, who have chosen to return home, revolves around avoiding a potential situation where they might become stranded either due to flight cancellations or border closures in their own countries."

With this many players pulling out, the PCB has given the go-ahead to the franchises to seek replacements. The PCB also said that it had carried out medical tests, and that no player has tested positive for the virus.

John Stephenson


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