Sri Lankan Cricketers to Resume Training on Monday After Coronavirus Hiatus
File image of Dimuth Karunaratne talking to his teammates ahead of the Test match©SLC website

A group of 13 Sri Lankan cricketers, comprising mainly bowlers, will resume training on Monday following the coronavirus hiatus, the country’s cricket board said on Sunday. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement that a “selected squad of 13 members will undergo a 12-day ‘Residential Training Camp’ at the Colombo Cricket Club”.

“The players taking part in the camp represents a general squad chosen from across all formats, and primarily consist of bowlers, as they need more time for ‘conditioning’ before going into active competition,” the statement said.

The coaching and support staff overseeing the training of the players will consist of a four-member unit.

All the players will strictly adhere to the health regulations imposed by the government in view of the COVID 19 pandemic.

The SLC said it has “taken all required measures in consultation with the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Health to ensure the safety of every individual involved in this exercise, and has formulated a set of procedures to adhere, during the camp period and before”.

The governing body said “members taking part in the camp, will not be allowed to leave the hotel premises or the practice venue to attend personal matters during the training period”.

The coronavirus outbreak had forced the suspension of professional cricket in the country in March. Sri Lanka were scheduled to host England and South Africa in March and June but both the series were postponed due to the global health crisis.

Sri Lanka is trying to convince India to tour the country for a closed-door limited over series comprising three ODIs and as many T20Is in July end.

The South African government has also allowed non-contact sports, including cricket, to return to play, a decision hailed by Cricket South Africa (CSA) acting CEO Jacques Faul as a “big boost”.

“This is a big boost for the operational side of our cricket,” said Faul in a statement issued on Saturday.

“We have been in regular contact with SRSA and the minister and they have been very supportive of the game in these difficult times.

Faul said the Covid Steering Committee will meet on Monday to draw up a protocol covering the return to training and playing.

“At this stage these regulations apply only to professional cricket and our next step will be to draw up a protocol covering the return to training and playing and submit it to SRSA for approval.

“I will immediately be calling a meeting of our Covid Steering Committee on Monday to get this process under way.

“Both our national teams and our franchises will in due time be given the green light to return to training.”

Faul, however, said no one will be forced to resume training. “I have already had discussions with the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) and I would like to stress that no player, coach, support staff or administrator will be forced to return to training if they are uncomfortable with it at this stage.”

England cricketers were the first to resume training following the coronavirus-forced break.

(With Agency Inputs)