CHENNAI: Nothing is official yet, but persons concerned will monitor things for a few days before taking a call on cricket in India in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Detection of six cases in Agra on Tuesday has put officials on alert, considering that Lucknow is scheduled to host the second ODI against South Africa, on March 15. The first and third games are in Dharamsala and Kolkata, on March 12 and 18, respectively. The IPL starts on March 29.
With the virus spreading fast all over the world, the central government has suspended visas for those travelling to India from China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly recently cancelled a trip to Dubai for an Asian Cricket Council meeting, following reports that the disease is on the rise there. After revelations of people in India testing positive, cricket officials have also started thinking about it.
“As of now, there is no cancellation or change. But nothing can be said for final until we get a clearer picture or the government issues a directive,” said an official. The BCCI top brass was in Mumbai on Tuesday in connection with the process to appoint new selectors. No announcement was made, although it is learnt that they have started keeping an eye on developments. If the situation gets worse, they might have to give it a rethink.
Till Tuesday, there were no reports of the South African board seeking updates from BCCI in this regard. But teams travelling to India can ask for information. The Asian fencing body, for example, has sought details like the number of cases, deaths if any, cities affected etc from the Indian federation, which wants to host the continental Olympic qualifiers.
The IPL can turn out to be a bigger concern. Not just players from different countries, the event sees a number of foreigners coming over as commentators, management staff, technicians, TV crew and cheerleaders. If the virus spreads in the next few days, this will be another point to ponder for the health ministry as well as BCCI. “We are going ahead with plans since there is no instruction from any quarter to do otherwise,” said an official of Chennai Super Kings. “As per government guidelines, passengers arriving in India will have to go through certain procedures. Our players will also be subjected to those rules. If we hear from authorities to do something specific in the coming days, we will do that. Otherwise, let’s wait and see.”