Sri Lanka allowed to come out of isolation as players return negative tests


Batting coach Grant Flower and team analyst GT Niroshan were described as being in a “stable” condition

Sri Lanka’s men’s cricketers will be allowed to come out of isolation on Sunday, after everyone remaining in the national squad returned negative PCR results. This only goes for the players however; coaches and support staff will have to remain in isolation until Wednesday, as they are considered first contacts of batting coach Grant Flower and team analyst GT Niroshan, who tested positive for the virus over the past few days.

The fact that Sri Lanka’s players will gradually begin training over the next few days – with outdoor practices likely to start on Tuesday – is good new for the series against India, which has already been postponed five days due to the infections in Sri Lanka’s camp. Provided no one else tests positive, team doctors are optimistic the first ODI can be played on July 18 as per the revised schedule.

When training does resume, however, Sri Lanka will likely be using the facilities at Khettarama stadium, while the India team trains at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC). The teams are also in separate hotels.

Flower and Niroshan, meanwhile, were described as being in a “stable” condition, after having been moved to an intermediate healthcare facility. Niroshan’s infection is understood to be asymptomatic at present. Doctors believe they had picked up the infections during the recently-concluded tour of England, though the team was supposed to be in a bio-bubble through the last stages of that tour. Seven members of the England squad – including four support staff – tested positive for the virus.

India’s preparation in Sri Lanka has been free of Covid-19 scares. They have been in a bio-bubble since their arrival.

The teams are set to play three ODIs, followed by three T20 internationals.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf