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India’s series against Sri Lanka rescheduled after COVID scare

Sri Lanka batting coach Grant Flower and data analyst GT Niroshan tested positive for COVID-19 on return from the United Kingdom.

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India’s limited overs series against Sri Lanka has been rescheduled due to COVID-19 cases in the Sri Lanka camp. The development came after Sri Lanka batting coach Grant Flower and data analyst GT Niroshan tested positive for COVID-19 on return from the United Kingdom. The series will now get underway on July 17 instead of July 13 after Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) extended the hard quarantine period for the players and support staff.

“Yes, the series will now start from 17th of July instead of 13th. The decision was taken in consultation with SLC keeping the safety and security of players in mind,” The Hindu quoted a senior BCCI official.

According to the sources, the BCCI and SLC are still discussing the new dates. The tentative dates could be July 17, 19 and 21 for the 50-over games, while the three-match T20I rubber is likely to start from July 24.

Earlier, the series was set to get underway with the ODI leg on July 13, followed by matches on July 16 and July 18. The T20I games were scheduled for July 21, July 23 and July 25. Meanwhile, the Indian team have completed their quarantine and have begun training in Colombo. A SLC source informed that all Sri Lanka players have tested negative for the virus.

“Once the contingent returned from the UK, Grant tested positive on arrival in RT PCR on the first day. All other players were then in their respective room (hard) quarantine. We removed Grant immediately in separate isolation zone. He is asymptomatic,” the source added.

“Yesterday we tested the others once again and today G T Niroshan’s report came positive and he was also isolated. Since we didn’t receive any other positive reports as of now, it means that the players who returned from UK have tested negative in their second RT PCR test.” The series is now being pushed back by four days despite the SLC keeping two groups of players in separate bio-bubbles.

“Apart from the UK-returned batch, we have created two more bio-bubbles in Colombo. In one bubble there are 13 players and in another there are 26. So, 39 players are available to pick a squad from. But BCCI would like to play the first team for obvious reasons,” the SLC source said.

Earlier today, Sri Lanka announced the 25-member squad for the India series. The SLC sacked Kusal Perera and named Dasun Shanaka as their new skipper. All rounder Dhananjaya de Silva will be Shanaka’s deputy. Sri Lanka dropped batsman Oshada Fernando and fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep while added Lahiru Udara, Lahiru Kumara, Ashen Bandara, Kasun Rajitha, and Bhanuka Rajapaksa to the squad.

Sri Lanka Squad (subjected to approval): Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Dhananjaya de Silva (Vice-Captain), Kusal Janith Perera, Avishka Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Ishan Jayaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Isuru Udana, Asitha Fernando, Binura Fernando, Shiran Fernando, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Praveen Jayawickrama, Ashen Bandara, Lahiru Udara, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha and Bhanuka Rajapaksa.

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