WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand’s winter tours to Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland and West Indies are in “serious doubt” due to the coronavirus and there are “obvious question marks” looming over the tour to Bangladesh in August, the national cricket board said on Friday.
“Clearly, this situation is extremely disappointing for everyone involved in sport but, given the bigger picture, and the terrible toll COVID-19 is taking worldwide, we need to look after not only our own people but the greater community good,” New Zealand Cricket boss David White told reporters in Auckland.
“Cricket in New Zealand has been fortunate in that we were very much at the end of our home summer programme when this crisis struck.
“However, with the lockdown now in full force, we’re mindful of the difficulties facing our cricket community.”
New Zealand has reported over 800 infections and one death from the virus.
As in other countries, virtually all sport in New Zealand has been shut down as part of containment efforts, triggering job losses and pay-cuts.
White said the board had not yet needed to resort to staff cuts but had switched to four-day working weeks and applied to a government scheme which subsidises wages at organisations affected by the coronavirus.
“We take our duty of care as an employer seriously and, at this juncture, want to avoid any changes to our employee headcount or remuneration levels,” he said.
“However, we’ll continue to closely monitor the effects on the wider cricket family.”
NZC also confirmed that it had postponed the national women’s team’s tour of Sri Lanka which was scheduled for later this month.
Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Lincoln Feast.