India’s limited-overs series against Sri Lanka is now set to begin on July 18 as the BCCI and SLC announced a revised schedule on the basis of health advisory after the Sri Lankan contingent detected two COVID positive cases. The ODIs will now be played on July 18, 20, and 23, followed by the T20Is on July 25, 27, and 29.
On Friday, Sri Lanka’s data analyst GT Niroshan was the second Covid-19 case in the Sri Lankan camp after batting coach Grant Flower had tested positive on Thursday, after their arrival from England. India will be captained by Shikhar Dhawan and coached by Rahul Dravid.
India’s Limited Overs Series Against Sri Lanka To Begin On July 18
Among the two backup squads that have been put together by the SLC, one group is isolating in Colombo and another is in Dambulla, as part of their contingency measure to ensure the India limited-overs series goes ahead.
A player from the backup squad in Colombo also tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, but it remains to be seen if it will affect Sri Lanka’s preparations.
Meanwhile, players currently in Colombo have been forced to isolate for two more days after GT Niroshan and Grant Flower tested positive for the Delta variant of the virus. This extended isolation period would have left Sri Lanka with no outdoor session before the first ODI had the series began on July 13.
“We understand that circumstances are extraordinary, but the BCCI would like to extend its full support to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) during these tough times for the smooth conduct of the upcoming series,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a media release.
“Our medical team is in constant touch with the team of doctors at SLC and together following all safety protocols that will help the series to get underway. ““We are confident that both nations will put up a spirited show in the days to come and we are in for some exciting cricket.”
The Sri Lankan team returned home from England after a disastrous short limited-overs tour early last week.
The India series postponement is the latest issue SLC has to grapple with, even as they abruptly announced the captaincy switch from Kusal Perera to Dasun Shanaka on the back of a messy contracts stand-off between the players and the board. Three players were also suspended for the alleged bio bubble breach.
Dasun Shanaka Set To Become Skipper Taking Over Reins From Kusal Perera
Dasun Shanaka is set to be named Sri Lanka’s new men’s limited-overs captain, replacing Kusal Perera who himself had only had the job since May. The captaincy switch is only partly a consequence of on-field performance.
Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga, Dimuth Karunaratne, and Kusal Perera had captained the side at some point since the start of 2018. Dasun Shanaka had led the national team when it managed to clean-sweep Pakistan in a three-match T20I series in 2019.
Although Sri Lanka has comfortably lost all three series that they played under Kusal Perera, the board and selectors have replaced him after he was deemed to have played a central role in the contracts standoff between the players and board, over the past few months.
With the Indian Test team on a break before the Test series against England after losing the World Test Championship final to New Zealand, BCCI is giving chances to a few youngsters on the tour. This will also serve as a test for players who want to prove themselves ahead of the T20 World Cup.