Colombo [Sri Lanka], July 9 (ANI): While Sri Lanka's batting coach Grant Flower tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, data analyst GT Niroshan tested positive on Friday. With questions being raised on whether the first team will be able to take the field for the ODI series, the Lankan board already has a contingency plan in place.
The board has kept two groups of players in bio-bubbles so that a new team can be fielded for the ODI series against India if the need arises.
The ODI series gets underway on Tuesday and as per a report in ESPNcricinfo, both Niroshan and Flower have been infected with the Delta variant, which is more contagious. The report further said two other groups of cricketers are already in bio-bubbles -- one in Colombo, and one in Dambulla -- and could possibly be called for the series if the first team isn't able to take the field.
However, a member of the Sri Lanka team's medical staff said it was "too early to say" if the main players would have to be pulled out of the series. The hosts' squad was slated to come out of quarantine and enter a bio-bubble on Friday, but will now be forced to spend at least two more days in isolation.
They will also undergo another RT-PCR test, the results of which will determine whether the main players can feature in the series against India. Earlier, three England players testing positive for COVID-19 had sent alarm bells ringing as Sri Lanka last played against the English squad.
If Sri Lanka is forced to field a new team, it won't be the first case as earlier this week England picked a whole new squad with all-rounder Ben Stokes leading the side for the series against Pakistan as the main team had to isolate.
The announcement came after the news that three members of the initial playing group and four members of the management staff had tested positive for COVID-19. Five players made their debut for England and the hosts even managed to thrash Pakistan in the first ODI.
Coming back to Sri Lanka, the side last played against England in three ODIs and three T20Is and the cricketers returned to Sri Lanka on Tuesday evening. Sri Lanka failed to win a single match on their tour to England after they suffered a 3-0 defeat in T20Is and a 2-0 in the ODI series.
Sri Lanka and India will square off in three ODIs and three T20Is, beginning July 13. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been named vice-captain, Shikhar Dhawan will lead the team which will be coached by former India skipper and NCA head Rahul Dravid. (ANI)