Fans banned from Australia ODIs in unprecedented cricket move

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter

The up-coming ODI series with New Zealand in Australia will be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Cricket Australia took the drastic step on Friday, just hours before the series opener at the SCG.

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Another match is due for the SCG on Sunday, before another game in front of an empty stadium at Blundstone Arena in Hobart next Friday.

All matches will still be broadcasted on Fox Sports and Kayo.

The ODI series between Australia and New Zealand will be played behind closed doors. (Getty Images)

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

"We have taken strong action today in the face of an unprecedented public health issue," Cricket Australia boss Kevin 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.

"This is not an issue specific to cricket."

New Zealand player Trent Boult after New Zealand lost to Australia on the fourth day of the second cricket Test match at the MCG in Melbourne on December 29, 2019. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

All fans who purchased a ticket will be eligible for a refund.

Australia's men also have a tour of New Zealand planned for later this month, with no decision made on that trip yet.

Those tours are the only Australian international matches in the short-term future, with the Indian Premier League also in serious doubt for later this month.

Coronavirus case confirmed WC final

There is uncertainty as to whether the Australian Grand Prix will go ahead this weekend in Melbourne, after another six cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Victoria.

One of the latest cases attended the women's T20 Cricket World Cup final at the MCG and another the Golden Plains music festival.

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The infected people - all men aged between 30 and 70 - were announced on Thursday and bring the total number of Victorian cases to 27.

One of the men attended Sunday's MCG final, watching the game from level two of the members stand while infected, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed.

With AAP