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New Zealand Cricket says tours "most unlikely" to proceed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White says Black Caps tours to Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands and the West Indies in June and July are “most unlikely” to go ahead because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A tour to Bangladesh in August is also in doubt, said Friday. New Zealand Cricket has already postponed a tour by the national women’s team to Sri Lanka, scheduled for later this month.

White said cricket in New Zealand was better placed to navigate the shutdown caused by the pandemic because it had completed most of its summer domestic program before the viral outbreak hit.

“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," White said. “With the lockdown now in full force we’re mindful of the difficulties facing our cricket community, particularly in view of the suspension of trust funding.

“Our current focus is very much on ensuring the future sustainability of cricket in New Zealand.”

The New Zealand government announced earlier Friday that annual funding to national sports organizations for this financial year will continue into next year to ensure those organizations can continue to operate in the absence of revenue from broadcasting, sponsorship and sports betting.

“The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of all sport from international, professional to grassroots competitions and the closure of community facilities,” Sports Minister Grant Robertson said. “Sport, recreation and play are vital for the health and well-being of our communities, and we are committed to doing everything we can to support the sector, both at a grassroots and elite level, into the future.”

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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