Australia’s premier First-Class tournament, the Sheffield Shield, stands on the verge of cancellation after its final round was called off due to fear of COVID-19 [novel Coronavirus]. With nine rounds completed, the decision to suspend the 10th and final round was taken on Sunday morning, with players being informed the night before.

The final round was supposed to see South Australia hosting Queensland in Adelaide, Western Australia inviting New South Wales in Perth and Victoria hosting Tasmania in Melbourne. The call was made factoring in the risk of contracting Coronavirus while travelling by air.

The decision regarding the final, which takes place 12 days from now March 27 will be taken in due time but in the case of it being scrapped, it will be the first time that the Sheffield Shield will be cancelled since the Second World War.

“At times like this, cricket must take a back seat for the greater good,” the CA chief executive Kevin Roberts said. “We have been in consultation with relevant government agencies, our own medical team and an infectious-diseases expert for quite some time now, and we have taken all their advice into account in making these decisions.

“In recent days, it has become evident that we must play our part in helping limit the spread of the virus by reducing person-to-person contact wherever possible. These measures reflect that.

“The decisions made this week are not something we are accustomed to in cricket. But by making them, we hope we can contribute to the global effort to slow, and eventually stop, the spread of coronavirus.”

At the completion of the ninth round, New South Wales sit atop the standings with 50 points from six wins, followed by Victoria at second [38 points] and Queensland at third [36 points] In case this is the end of the season, it is unknown whether NSW will be awarded the title or will there be no winner crowned at all.