Ind vs SA: Lucknow ODI behind closed doors, Kol likely to follow

Port Elizabeth: Hardik Pandya of India celebrates fall of AB de Villiers' wicket during the 5th ODI between India and South Africa at the St George's Park Cricket Ground in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on Feb 13, 2018. (Photo: BCCI/IANS) (Credit Mandatory)

New Delhi: The second and third ODIs between India and South Africa that will be played in Lucknow and Kolkata respectively will be played behind closed doors amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The second ODI is scheduled to be played on March 15 and the third on March 18.

“Following the advisory issued by the Sports Ministry, we held a discussion within ourselves and with officials from the BCCI. Subsequently, we decided to hold the second ODI without spectators,” an Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) official said.

Meanwhile, a source within the Cricket Association of Bengal also said that the Eden Gardens could be empty for the third ODI which is scheduled to be played on March 18. “We have to honour Ministry’s instructions. These are unavoidable circumstances,” the source told IANS. The association is expected to come out with an official statement later in the day.

The ministry on Thursday had said in its advisory to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), all National Sports Federations (NSFs) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that they should adhere to advisories issued by the health ministry.

“You are advised to adhere to the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and ensure that no public gathering takes place in any sporting event. In the event, the sporting event cannot be avoided, the same could be done without allowing gathering of people, including spectators,” the ministry said in the advisory.

The central government had on Wednesday suspended all visas, barring a few categories like diplomatic and employment, in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus as cases across the country rose to over 70.