The schedule of India six-match limited overs series against the home team has been changed after two cases of Covid-19 were reported in the Sri Lankan team. Now the first ODI will be on July 17 instead of July 13. Sri Lankan batting coach Grant Flower and data analyst GT Niroshan have tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from the UK.
Due to this, the Sri Lanka Cricket Board was forced to extend the prescribed strict isolation of three days. This was confirmed by a senior official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He told PTI, ‘Yes, the series will now start from July 17 instead of July 13. This decision has been taken only after negotiating with Sri Lanka Cricket keeping in mind the safety of the players. ‘
After talking to the sources in Sri Lanka Cricket, it has been learned that the new dates are still being discussed after consultation with the BCCI. The possible dates for the 50-over matches could be July 17, 19 and 21, while the three-match T20I series is likely to begin on July 24.
“We are discussing some options on the new date of the event,” a Sri Lanka board source said. As per the pre-scheduled schedule, the series was to start from the ODI leg on July 13 with the next two matches scheduled for July 16 and 18. The T20 Internationals were to be held on July 21, 23 and 25.
India’s limited overs format team led by Shikhar Dhawan has completed its strict isolation. Team India is training in Colombo. Sri Lanka Board source said that all Sri Lankan players who returned from Britain have come negative.
The source said, “Grant Flower tested positive in RT-PCR on the first day after the team returned from the UK. All the players were in their rooms till strict isolation. We immediately placed Grant in a separate isolation. They don’t have any symptoms.’
He said, ‘Yesterday we got the tests done again and today the report of GT Niroshan came positive. They too were separated. Since then, we have not received any positive report, which means that the players who returned from Britain have come negative in their second RT-PCR test.
The series has now been pushed forward by four days, while the Sri Lanka board has placed the players in two separate groups in the bio-bubble. “In addition to the group of players who have returned from the UK, we have created two more bio-bubbles in Colombo. One bubble has 13 players, while the other has 26 players. But BCCI would definitely like to play against the main team.
Sri Lanka’s white-ball team is not to play any series after this, so the change of schedule was not a big problem. If all the matches are to be held at Premadasa Stadium, then there can be flexibility in the date, as the players do not have to travel. The Indian team has lived and stayed in the Taj sea for the last three decades.
Niroshan was confirmed positive on Friday, while Flower came positive on Thursday. This information came 48 hours after the team returned from England. All other players living in isolation have also been investigated.
The Sri Lankan team had to eagerly await the results of their PCR test after returning home before coming negative as several players in the England team tested positive for COVID-19 after the final match of the tour in Bristol on Sunday.