CHENNAI: As expected, India's limited-overs series against Sri Lanka was pushed back by four days on Friday due to the emergence of Covid-19 positive cases in the host's camp.
The series, which was originally scheduled to begin on July 13 in Colombo with the first of the three ODIs, is now expected to begin on July 17, provided there are no further setbacks.
"The series has been rescheduled and is expected to start from July 17 now. We are negotiating with the Indian cricket board (BCCI) and announce the new schedule soon," a Sri Lanka Cricket office-bearer confirmed to this daily. India, led by opener Shikhar Dhawan, is scheduled to play three ODIs and as many T20Is in the series.
As per the original schedule, the 50-overs matches were scheduled on July 13, 16 and 18 followed by T20Is on July 21, 23 and 25. It is learnt that the ODIs are now scheduled for July 17, 19, and 21 while the T20Is will be played on July 24, 25, and 27.
The first real concerns emerged after seven members in the England squad -- Sri Lanka's opponent's last week — tested Covid-19 positive a day after the conclusion of the limited-overs series. As a precaution measure, Sri Lanka placed their squad in quarantine till July 12, but two days after arriving in Colombo, their batting coach Grant Flower tested positive on Thursday. The situation turned grim when data analyst GT Niroshan tested positive on Friday.
Sources also confirmed that the SLC has created three bio-bubbles to ensure the series goes on even if its first-choice players remain unavailable. While two bubbles are set up in two separate hotels in Colombo, the third one is created in Dambulla where around 70 players are training.
"A total of six players from 12, who did not travel to England, were already included in the proposed squad. If the need arises, more will be included from the group training in Dambulla," said sources. England too fielded a whole new squad handing debuts to nine uncapped players following the virus outbreak ahead of the ongoing series against Pakistan.