HPCA stadium
HPCA stadium covered due to rain ahead of the first one-day international cricket match between India and South Africa, in Dharamsala on Thursday. Image Credit: ANI

Dharamsala: The first one-day international between India and South Africa in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala was called off without a ball being bowled due to incessant rain on Thursday.

While several international sporting events have been cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the two cricket boards decided to go ahead with three one-day internationals despite concerns.

On Thursday, the Indian government said it wanted the national cricket team's upcoming matches to be played in empty stadiums - an unheard-of occurrence in a country where the sport is a national obsession.

But a sizeable crowd nonetheless gathered in the Dharamsala ground, with local match organisers saying they had not received the government directive. The fans were, however, left disappointed as the rains did not relent.

The second ODI will be held in Lucknow before Kolkata's Eden Gardens hosts the final match.