Covid-19: NZC moves matches to Wellington as Auckland goes into lockdown

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The remaining matches involving Australia men’s team and England women’s side will be played behind closed doors

Next week’s T20Is in Auckland involving the Australia men’s team and the England women’s side have been relocated to Wellington, after Auckland was put into a week-long Covid-19 lockdown. The remaining matches of the two tours are set to be played behind closed doors.

Under Level 3 of the New Zealand government’s alert system, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced would take effect from 6 AM on Sunday morning following the emergence of another case of community transmission, sports events cannot take place, which means that New Zealand Cricket has shifted the two matches on March 5 in an attempt to keep both series going.

The rest of New Zealand has been placed in Level 2 of the alert system which means that matches will have to take place behind closed doors: New Zealand and England Women play their third ODI in Dunedin on Sunday and the men’s series against Australia resumes in Wellington on Wednesday.

Under the current seven-day period of the lockdown there could be a change in time for the matches in Mount Maunganui on March 7 although a NZC spokesman indicated those games were likely to be without crowds.

Auckland was briefly under a Level 3 lockdown earlier this month after the emergence of community cases but these will be the first international matches of the season to be affected by Covid-19.

Bangladesh recently arrived in Christchurch for their two weeks of managed isolation ahead of their limited-overs matches later in March. The Australia Women side are also set to tour later next month.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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