Sheffield Shield cancelled as Australia attempts to combat corona


SYDNEY - Australia’s domestic first-class competition, the Sheffield Shield, is set to be cancelled before its conclusion due to coronavirus, the first such event since the Second World War. Cricket Australia officially announced the decision to cancel the final round of the regular season on Sunday morning. The players are understood to have been informed on Saturday night, before they travelled to venues. The final, scheduled to be hosted by New South Wales in Wollongong, is also set to be cancelled, although CA have said an update will be provided “in due course”. Concerns about the risk of contracting coronavirus while travelling by air is thought to be a part of the decision, with South Australia to host Queensland in Adelaide, Western Australia to host New South Wales in Perth and Victoria to host Tasmania in Melbourne. With nine of 10 rounds completed, NSW sit clearly atop the table, with Victoria second and then little separating Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia. It is not yet clear whether NSW will be awarded the Shield as the top team, or no winner declared. The Shield has been contested every season since 1892, only stopped by the First World War from 1915 to 1919 and the Second World War from 1940 to 1946. “At times like this, cricket must take a back seat for the greater good,” the CA chief executive Kevin Roberts said.


I just had very, very mild cold, says  Lockie Ferguson


AUCKLAND - There’s been a few times that Lockie Ferguson had been down with a cold in the course of his career, but it was different this time. After reporting a sore throat to the New Zealand team management on Friday, he was sent for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) tests and then asked to isolate himself in his hotel room. Now he’s back home with his family, who wasted no time checking up on him. “Certainly got a few texts on Saturday but I was quick to announce that it was only a few cold symptoms and happy to be home now,” he said upon arrival in Auckland on Sunday. Ferguson was in Sydney to play a three-match ODI series, but with the New Zealand government increasing travel restrictions, including a mandate that said people coming back from Australia had to go under self-isolation for 14 days, the series was called off a third of the way through. Well before that, news of Ferguson’s condition emerged, but the man himself thinks it was blown out of proportion. “No. Probably a bit over-exaggerated as to how I was,” he said. “I just sort of had very, very mild cold symptoms and the procedures were as they were and followed by Tommy [Simsek, physio] and the support staff. Completely understandable. So yeah, kinda had a day in the hotel room by myself.


“It was strange certainly playing the game under the circumstances and with an empty crowd. For sure, that was an odd experience. At the same time, we were a little bit disappointed with how the game ended up. And yeah, that night I was sort of taken to get swabs and talked to the doctor there and fortunately all was good and yeah happy to be home.”