Australia's Sheffield Shield may remain vacant for the first time since World War II amidst Coronavirus outbreak

Australia’s Sheffield Shield may remain vacant for the first time since World War II amidst Coronavirus outbreak

If the public situation improves over the next few weeks, the final may proceed as planned with Victoria likely to be the Blues’ opponent.

Jordan Silk
Jordan Silk. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

The premier domestic tournament of Australia, the Sheffield Shield may remain vacant for the first time since World War II after Cricket Australia canceled the final round of the tournament due to the rising threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NSW Blues currently sit on the top of the Shield points table with six wins from the nine completed games and hold a 12.23-point gap over second-placed Victoria.

The Australian board has deferred their decision on the final of the Marsh Sheffield Shield which is scheduled to be played from March 27. Australia already postponed their Chappell-Hadlee ODI series against New Zealand, after playing the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in empty stands. The players from two sides also avoided handshakes during celebrations and post-match pleasantries.

New South Wales Blues could be given the Sheffield Shield (2019-2020)

Another option that lies with the Cricket Australia is to give the Marsh Sheffield Shield final (2019-2020) to the New South Wales Blues, given their massive difference of points over Victoria as mentioned above. If that happens, it would be the state’s 47th Shield title, and first since the 2013-14 summer.

“At times like this, cricket must take a back seat for the greater good. We have been in consultation with relevant government agencies, our own medical team and an infectious disease expert for quite some time now, and we have taken their advice into account in making these decisions,” cricket.com.au quoted Kevin Roberts as saying.

Spectators had already been banned from the three matches due to be played this week at the WACA in Perth, Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide and Melbourne’s Junction Oval. In the last round of matches which were to begin on Tuesday, South Australia was to host Queensland while NSW was to travel to play Western Australia in Perth. Tasmania was to be hosted by Victoria from Thursday.

If the public situation improves over the next few weeks, the final may proceed as planned with Victoria likely to be the Blues’ opponent. Victoria, on the other hand, has won four of the past five Shield titles, including beating NSW in last year’s decider in Melbourne.