Coronavirus crisis leaves Australian players in limbo as CA plans next step

Australian players were in the dark on Thursday over their participation in this year's IPL after the Indian government tightened travel restrictions into the country due to coronavirus fears.

Cricket Australia officials met on Thursday afternoon to discuss how it would handle the escalating crisis, which has seen the nation's biggest competition, the AFL, bracing for games to be played in empty stadiums.

Aaron Finch (middle with ball in hand) addresses the playing group at the SCG on Thursday. Credit:AAP

Australia's T20 World Cup-winning women's team are due to fly to South Africa this weekend for six one-day internationals and Twenty20s. A source close to a player said while security had been discussed, the issue of coronavirus had not been spoken about.

The governing council of the IPL is due to meet on Saturday to discuss the future of this year's tournament. Local politicians are calling for matches to be played in empty stadiums.

Australia captain Aaron Finch said it would be "weird" to play without a crowd.

"You get so accustomed to the atmosphere of the fans who ride the momentum really well, especially when you’re playing at home and the Australian fans support so well," Finch said.

The Indian government has suspended all existing visas until April 15 but employment visas are among those excepted. Australia's players could face quarantine upon arrival in India.

"Incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, are advised to avoid non-essential travel and are informed that they can be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days on their arrival in India," a revised travel advisory issued on Wednesday night said.

The uncertainty over the coronavirus forced the cancellation of a match involving an Australia Legends team in Pune, where eight people have tested positive. The Australian team includes retired internationals Brad Haddin, Brad Hodge and Clint McKay.

They are taking part in a Twenty20 tournament, run by the Road Safety Cell of Maharashtra, featuring former greats Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara.

Indian and South African players will not shake hands during the upcoming ODI series in India. India paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar said players would limit the use of saliva for shining the ball.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has issued guidelines over hygiene, including a directive for all wash rooms to be stocked with hand-wash liquid and sanitisers.

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