The Indian cricket team’s six-game limited series against Sri Lanka was rescheduled on Friday due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the home team’s camp, with the first ODI now starting July 17 at July 13th.
Sri Lanka batting coach Grant Flower and data analyst GT Niroshan tested positive for the dreaded virus upon returning from the UK, forcing Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to extend the quarantine period strict of the three days stipulated.
“Yes, the series will now start from July 17 instead of 13. The decision was made in consultation with SLC with player safety in mind,” a senior BCCI official told PTI, confirming Development.
After speaking to sources at SLC, it was learned that new dates were still being drafted in consultation with the BCCI. Tentative dates could be July 17, 19 and 21 for 50-a-side games, while the three-game T20I rubber is expected to start from July 24.
“We are discussing some options on the new route,” a source told SLC to PTI.
As per the original schedule, the series was to start with the ODI stage on July 13, followed by matches on July 16 and 18. The T20I games were scheduled for July 21, July 23, and July 25.
The second-tier Indian team, led by Shikhar Dhawan with Rahul Dravid as head coach, have completed their harsh quarantine and trained in Colombo.
The SLC source informed that all Sri Lankan players who returned from the UK tested negative.
“After the contingent returned from the UK, Grant tested positive upon entering RT PCR on day one.
All the other players were then in their respective rooms in (hard) quarantine. We immediately removed Grant to a separate isolation area. It is asymptomatic, ”the source added.
“Yesterday we tested the others again and today GT Niroshan’s report turned positive and it was also isolated. As we have not received any other positive reports yet, it means that players who returned from the UK tested negative in their second PCR RT Test. “
The series is now pushed back for four days despite the SLC keeping two groups of players in separate bio-bubbles.
“Besides the bundle sent back to the UK, we have created two other bio-bubbles in Colombo. In one bubble there are 13 players and in another there are 26. So 39 players are available to choose one. But BCCI would like to play in the first team for obvious reasons, “said the SLC source.
Since the Sri Lanka White Ball team don’t have any commitments after that, rescheduling hasn’t been a big deal.
With all the matches at the Premadasa Stadium, the dates can be flexible as no travel is involved.
The Indian team remains at its preferred location for the past three decades – Taj Samudra.
While Niroshan’s conformation was given on Friday, Sri Lanka hitting coach Flower tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, 48 hours after the England squad arrived.
All other quarantined players have also been tested.
Before testing negative, the Sri Lanka team had eagerly awaited the results of their RT-PCR tests upon returning home, following a COVID-19 outbreak in the England team after the last match of his Bristol tour on Sunday.
The Lankans have been in some turmoil even otherwise with a contract dispute and an ongoing investigation into the bio-bubble violation by three players during the England tour, adding to their woes.