Aussie cricketer quarantined as ODI goes ahead behind closed doors

Kane Richardson has been quarantined from Australia's cricket squad and ruled out of Friday's ODI against New Zealand with a ‘mild sore throat’.

Cricket Australia officials are confident the fast bowler's issue is not related to the coronavirus, which has seen the SCG match played behind closed doors.

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“Our medical staff are treating this a typical throat infection but we are following Australian Government protocols that require us to keep Kane away from other members of the squad and perform the appropriate tests given he has returned from international travel in the last 14 days,” a Cricket Australia spokesman said.

Cricket Australia took the drastic step to lock fans out of Friday’s match, just hours before the series opener at the SCG.

Kane Richardson has been isolated from the rest of the squad. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Cricket Australia resists cancelling matches

Another match is due for the SCG on Sunday, with the final game at Hobart's Blundstone Arena next Friday.

A women's tour of South Africa for next week has been suspended, making it the first major international cricket series affected since the outbreak.

“We have taken strong action today in the face of an unprecedented public health issue,” Cricket Australia boss Keith Roberts said.

“We believe this is the right decision to minimise the risk of public exposure to the coronavirus, which the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic on Thursday.

“We understand that these changes to our schedule will impact many, but we hope our community will understand that the public health and safety issues caused by the coronavirus must take priority over sport at this time.”

Fans were locked out of the SCG for Australia's clash with New Zealand. Image: Getty

Roberts said cancelling the ODIs would have been “excessive” but there had been “apprehension” among players at the prospect of playing in front of large crowds, especially after a spectator at last week's Women's T20 World Cup final was diagnosed with coronavirus.

He defended the call to play the final in front of 86,174 fans but said it was a learning experience.

“We obviously experienced last Sunday night that a member of the crowd at the women's T20 World Cup, was later diagnosed with coronavirus, and it's important that we learn from that,” he said in Melbourne on Friday.

Players will be briefed not to shake hands, though Roberts wouldn't comment specifically on whether shining the ball with saliva would be discouraged.

Aussies bat first

Captain Aaron Finch won the toss on an SCG wicket expected to be on the slow side given the late part of the summer.

With the event the first in Australia to be played in front of empty stands, toss interviews were conducted via spidercam with media personnel required to keep their distance.

“It's an unusual feeling out here,” Finch said at the toss.

“When you turn up to the game and no-one is around it's unusual. But for us to play a game of cricket is nice still.”

AUSTRALIA: Aaron Finch (capt), David Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, D'Arcy Short, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.

NEW ZEALAND: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.