New Zealand abandon Australia tour after tightened border restrictions
New Zealand have called off the remaining two ODIs of the three-match series against Australia amidst tightened travel restrictions imposed by its government to combat the spread of coronavirus.
The series opener in Sydney was played without fans owing to fears surrounding the WHO-declared pandemic. New Zealand faced a humiliating defeat by 71 runs and were due to play the second and third game on March 15 and 20 respectively.
The visiting squad will now fly home immediately after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced everyone entering the country would have to self-isolate for 14 days. Although New Zealand has so far witnessed only six confirmed cases of the virus, their government has taken a cue from other countries around the globe.
"In response to the New Zealand government's latest travel restrictions, Cricket Australia has been advised the New Zealand team will be returning home immediately," the statement from Cricket Australia said.
Additionally, the upcoming T20I series between the two teams in New Zealand later this month has also been postponed.
"Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket will work together to identify a future opportunity to play both series," it added.
The COVID-19 has forced several cricketing tournaments and series to be either put on hold or played behind closed doors as a precautionary measure.
Ahead of the first ODI on Friday, Australia paceman Kane Richardson was isolated and tested for the virus. His results came out negative and he was allowed to rejoin the side following the match.
Meanwhile, Lockie Ferguson also underwent a test for COVID-19 after reporting sore throat but he too was cleared of the problem.