Chappell-Hadlee 2020: Blackcaps face Australia without spectators in one-day opener

New Zealand will face Australia in an empty stadium, when the Chappell-Hadlee one-day cricket series begins in Sydney on Friday evening.

The three-match trans-Tasman rivalry has become the latest event affected by the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world, forcing the postponement or cancellation of many major sporting events.

While Formula One organisers continued to ponder whether the Australian Grand Prix would proceed as planned in Melbourne this weekend, Cricket Australia decided not to take any chances.

The Blackcaps are scheduled to play the Aussies twice at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday and Sunday, with the third encounter hosted at Hobart's Blundstone Arena next Friday. All three fixtures will now take place behind closed doors. 

"We believe this is the right decision to minimise the risk of public exposure to the coronavirus, which the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic on Thursday," says CA chief executive Kevin Roberts.

"Cricket Australia has been monitoring the coronavirus situation for several weeks, particularly looking at advice provided by DFAT [Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade] and other relevant government agencies, including the Australian Institute of Sport, which has outlined a coordinated approach for all Australian sports.

"We have also consulted with an infectious diseases specialist.

"Our players and staff have been adopting recommended sanitary practices during this time to minimise the chance of exposure and will continue to do so."

Ticketholders will receive full refunds and although accredited media will be allowed into the ground, they will be subject to a "precautionary perimeter" between them and the teams.

Cricket Australia has also called off a planned women's tour to South Africa and will continue to keep options open over upcoming travel, including the Twenty20 series in New Zealand later this month.

Join us at 4:30pm Friday for live updates of the Blackcaps v Australia one-day clash