As the first One-Day International of the three-match series between India and South Africa was abandoned due to rain in Dharamsala on Thursday, the covid-19 threat will wash out next two contests.
The second one-day international which is slated for 15 March in Lucknow will be held at “empty stadium” to avoid the spread of the novel corona virus which has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the Yogi government has decided. Last match in the series is to be held in Kolkata 18 March.
The sports ministry on Thursday asked all national federations, including the BCCI, to follow the Health Ministry's advisory and avoid large gatherings in sports events.
Mukesh Meshram, divisional commissioner of Lucknow, told media on Thursday, “There is no question of allowing spectators in the stadium in the wake of corona pandemic and advisory issued in this regard.”
The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) decided late night to quarantine Lucknow’s and Kolkata matches.
Strangely, the BCCI hadn’t cancelled the Dharmshala match held on Thursday despite Union government’s move to cancel all public events and even tourists visa earlier this week.
When asked about ban on entry of audience, Uday Sinha, director of Ekana stadium told Free Press Journal, “The sports ministry has issued an advisory. We will follow the BCCI decision.”
The swanky Ekana stadium, renamed by Yogi Govt as Atal Bihari Bajpayee Stadium last year, built a couple of years ago has the capacity of 50,000. Over 25,000 tickets worth Rs5 crore have already been sold, confirmed Mr Sinha. The ticket costs range from Rs1,200 to Rs21,000.
Mr Sinha assures, “We will refund the money. Those who have booked online, will get it on Paytm while those who have obtained it on counters can get it at the counters only.”