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New Zealand 'A' tour to India likely on schedule

Last updated on: April 03, 2020 11:40 IST
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IMAGE: 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 (Image used for representational purposes). Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images via Reuters

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Friday decided against cancelling its A team's tour of India in August despite the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, saying it is "too early at this point" even as it applied for government wage subsidy scheme to assist payments to its employees.

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.

NZC also confirmed that it had postponed the national women's team's tour of Sri Lanka which was scheduled for later this month.

"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."

White said the NZC's current focus was on ensuring the future sustainability of cricket in New Zealand.

He said NZC was applying for the Government Wage Subsidy Scheme "to assist in navigating the next 12 weeks."

"The scheme supports employers adversely affected by COVID-19 so they can continue to pay their employees during the lockdown," the NZC said.

On a positive note, White confirmed the ANZ New Zealand Cricket Awards, initially called off because of the COVID-19 outbreak, would be reinvented in the form of a digital and mainstream media campaign over the week of April 28.

"We look forward to recognising and congratulating our outstanding players, officials, volunteers, coaches and administrators for the 2019-20 season in a fitting way, despite the restrictions and limitations of the current climate."

The pandemic has caused more than 50,000 deaths worldwide and more than 10,00,000 infected.

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