Amid the outbreak of the deadly novel coronavirus which has claimed more than 5,000 lives and infected more than a lakh people globally, sporting events across the world have been severely affected.
Some of the most high profile tournaments, including Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 and English Premier League in football have either been postponed, suspended or are being played behind closed doors. The same is the case with several bilateral cricket series including the India-South Africa series, the Australia-New Zealand series as well as the forthcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
While the Board of Control for Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has said that it is planning to reschedule the remaining matches of the South Africa series, it has already postponed the IPL to 15 April. Even if the cash-rich league manages to commence from 15 April, chances are that it will get underway with no fans being allowed to enter the stadium.
Let us have a look at the 3 instances when a bilateral cricket series has been called off in India.
#1. England tour of India (2008)
The first bilateral cricket series to be called off in India was in 2008 when England had come to a tour of India. England were scheduled to play a 7-ODI and a 2-Test match series. The limited-overs series was supposed to be played first and the first 4 one-dayers had been played as scheduled but the date of the fifth ODI coincided with the day of the infamous Mumbai terror attacks- 26 November 2008 and the remaining two matches had to be called off as England returned home. The English team returned to India to finish the Test series.
#2. West Indies tour of India (2014)
In 2014-15, the West Indies had come to tour India. They were scheduled to play a series involving 5 ODIs, 1 T20I and as many as three ODIs. The ODI series was slated ahead of the rest of the formats. While the first 2 ODIs were completed without any hindrance, the third match had to be abandoned due to a cyclone.
However, the real issue manifested after the the third ODI as the tension between the West Indies Cricket Board and their cricketers regarding their salary and payments escalated and the team left for their home without participating in the final ODI as well as the remainder of the scheduled tour.
#3. South Africa tour of India (2020)
The latest bilateral series to be called off is the India-South Africa series. While the first ODI of the series was washed out at Dharamshala on Thursday, there were a couple of more matches that were scheduled to be played in Lucknow and Kolkata respectively.
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However, amid the spread of COVID-19, BCCI decided to call off the remaining two matches for now and reschedule them for a later date as and when the virus subsides.Earlier, it was decided that the remaining matches would be played behind closed doors but on Friday the BCCI confirmed that they have called off the series for now and are working with Cricket South Africa (CSA) to have it scheduled sometime later.