Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi/Sydney: The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League which was originally slated to commence from March 29, has been put on hold till April 15. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to postpone the league keeping in view the ongoing coronavirus threat and the decision has been conveyed to the participating franchises.

A BCCI official said, "Yes, the internal decision has been made to postpone the start of the tournament and it will begin on April 15, the BCCI has informed the franchises about the same,"

In another development, the remaining two matches of the ongoing ODI series between India and South Africa has also been called off in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. A day after it was revealed that the last two ODIs of the series will be played in empty stadiums, sources told that the series itself will now be called off.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) later confirmed the news in a tweet. "CONFIRMED: The #INDvSA ODI series has been suspended in the wake of a growing number of coronavirus cases." The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) or Cricket South Africa (CSA) are yet to put out official statements of their own.

Notably, the first match of the series in Dharamsala was washed out and the second and third match, scheduled to be played in Lucknow and Kolkata respectively, were to be closed door affairs.

Australia Pacer Kane Richardson Tested Negative For COVID19

Aussie medium pacer Kane Richardson tested negative for COVID-19 on Friday, paving the way for his return to Australia's squad after being ruled out of the first ODI against New Zealand owing to a sore throat.

The right-arm medium pacer, who had returned from South Africa earlier this week, had informed the medical staff of a sore throat on Thursday and his samples were sent for the testing of novel coronavirus.

To his and many in the Australian team's relief, the test results came as negative and he went on to play the first ODI against New Zealand at Sydney Cricket Ground.

"Kane Richardson has been cleared of contracting coronavirus after he returned a negative result to COVID-19 testing today," cricket.com.au reported.

"He received the all-clear about 8pm (local time) and was released from his hotel room quarantine to travel to the SCG for the opening ODI against New Zealand."

Also Read: Premier League In Doubt After Multiple Covid-19 Positive Cases

The Cricket Australia has already announced that the ongoing Chappell Hadlee series will be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak. They have also suspended the women's tour of South Africa, where the two teams were scheduled to play three ODIs and as many T20Is.

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The sports ministry has 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 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 on conditions of anonymity.

Also Read: Coronavirus Posts Big Impact On IPL 2020

Deputy CM Manish Sisodia took to Twitter to mention that the Delhi government will ban IPL 2020 in the wake of coronavirus threat.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has also announced that the remaining matches of ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) will take place behind closed doors.

Australia women's upcoming tour of South Africa, where the two teams were scheduled to play three ODIs and as many T20Is, has been suspended due to coronavirus concerns.

The ODI matches were due to be played in Durban (March 22), Pietermaritzburg (March 25) and East London (March 28) and the T20Is were due to be played in East London (March 31) and Benoni (April 3 and 4).

South Africa's men's team will also be affected by the global pandemic, with the last two ODIs of their three-match series in India scheduled to be played in front of empty stands.

In a statement, Cricket Australia also said that the three-match Chappell Hadlee series, which started Friday between the men's cricket teams of Australia and New Zealand, will be played in front of empty stands.

"A decision will be made in due course regarding Australia's three-match T20I tour of New Zealand. The matches are currently scheduled to play in Dunedin (March 24), Auckland (March 27) and Christchurch (March 29)."

Kevin Roberts, Cricket Australia's Chief Executive, said all decisions were made with the health and safety of the public, players, staff and match officials as the primary concern.

"We have taken strong action today in the face of an unprecedented public health issue," Roberts said.

(With Agency inputs)