CHENNAI: Even as all the members of the Sri Lankan contingent tested negative for the coronavirus on Wednesday, their playing XI, in all probability, might have to take on India in the first ODI on July 13 without any outdoor training sessions.
As per existing Covid-19 protocols, the players and support staff, who returned from England on Tuesday, were kept in isolation and subjected to RT-PCR tests on their arrival.
They had travelled from England to Sri Lanka in a bio-bubble and were not subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period. However, they have to spend seven days in isolation in a Colombo hotel before taking the field.
The situation arose after seven members of the England team including three players were found to be Covid positive on Tuesday soon after the limited-overs series with Sri Lanka.
"None of our team members, who returned from England, tested positive," Mohan de Silva, secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), told The New Indian Express. But returning Covid-negative didn't resolve the issue completely for the Sri Lanka team.
"For the first three days since arrival (July 6), the team members will have to undergo a strict quarantine in their respective hotel rooms. From the fourth day onward, they can use gyms and swimming pools at the hotel. They can also train there. After completion of the seven-day period, they can go outdoor for training," added the SLC office-bearer. De Silva also added that the players will not be subjected to frequent testing and they will be tested only once after completion of isolation period of seven days.
Interestingly, Day 7 of the quarantine ends on July 12 and the first ODI is scheduled for the next day. "They can train in the hotel as it has facilities, which can be helpful," said De Silva.
Earlier, professor Arjuna De Silva, head of the SLC medical panel, had said that the risk to Lankan players is very low. "We have done a risk assessment. We think the risk to our players is very low," he said.
He also said that the existing norms are enough to counter the situation. "No need to have any new protocols as our ones are rigorous enough. Also, our players are vaccinated with Sputnik and have antibodies as well."
Kusal Perera and Co had lost all their completed matches against hosts England (3 T20Is and 2 ODIs) while the third one-day international did not yield a result as rain saved them from the indignity of a whitewash.
Given the protocols they have to follow, which in turn will render them short of proper practice, the players have to play out of their skin to ensure the Men in Blue do not have it easy in the upcoming series comprising three ODIs and as many T20Is.