Australia’s domestic Sheffield Shield was called off on Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic with New South Wales declared champions as all cricket nationwide was halted. The last round of the tournament had already been cancelled to reduce travel and the final has followed suit to leave New South Wales, who led after nine rounds of the inter-state competition, as the winners. Australia’s three-match one-day international series against New Zealand, being played with no spectators, had been abandoned at the weekend with Australia 1-0 up after Wellington tightened border restrictions to combat a spread of the virus.
Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts recommended that all community cricket should stop and shut down the organisation’s offices with staff working from home.
“By effectively cancelling the remainder of our season, Cricket Australia is playing its part in protecting fans, players, staff, volunteers and match officials during this unprecedented global health issue,” he said.
“These are difficult decisions, but the right ones in the circumstances.”
“Many will no doubt be disappointed that the Sheffield Shield, Premier Cricket and Community Cricket seasons won’t have their traditional ending.
“That said, we congratulate New South Wales who were 12 points clear at the top of the table on being crowned Sheffield Shield champions.
“As organisations around the world rally to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it’s important that we also provide decisive leadership.
“We hope that by taking these actions now – in addition to those announced in recent days – we can contribute to ‘flattening the curve’ of coronavirus and society returning to normal as quickly as possible.”
Australia has confirmed nearly 400 cases of coronavirus so far, with five fatalities.