The cricket fans in Dharamsala have been unfazed by the threat looming in light of the coronavirus outbreak globally and, despite the sports ministry directing Himachal Pradesh state administration to avoid mass gathering, the crowd continues to build up for the series opening first ODI between India and South Africa on Thursday.

With the sporting events globally including in India continue to be cancelled or postponed in wake of the coronavirus threat, question makers have been put over the organisation cricketing events in the country. The first of this happens to be the India-South Africa three-match ODI series followed by the Indian Premier League (IPL).

However, on Thursday, spectators could be seen making their way into the stadium wearing protective masks.

Sports Secretary Eadhey Shyam Julaniya has said he has had conversations with the chief secretaries of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh asking them to follow the advisory issued by the health ministry ‘in letter and spirit’, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.

He further said that while there’s no instruction to cancel sporting events but to avoid public gathering. In other words, the ODI should have been played behind closed doors.

“We haven’t got any instruction,” Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association secretary Sumit Sharma told the English daily.

On Thursday, reports emerged that a spectator who watched the India-Australia ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Final at the MCG has tested positive for coronavirus.

Elsewhere in India, the Paralympics Committee of India has put on hold all national and state-level events and the ongoing Road Safety World Series in Mumbai will also be played behind closed doors.