India's six-match white-ball series in Sri Lanka will now start from July 18 due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the home team's camp.
On Thursday (July 8), Sri Lanka batting coach Grant Flower tested positive for the coronavirus and on Friday (July 9) one of their data analysts suffered the same fate. Hence the series, which was originally scheduled to start with three ODIs on July 13, had to be rescheduled.
"India-Sri Lanka ODI series to start on July 18 due to COVID-19 outbreak in-home team camp," BCCI Secretary Jay Shah Shah told PTI.
According to the new schedule, The three ODI matches will now be held on July 18, 20 and 23 at the Premadasa Stadium (RPS) followed by the T20 Internationals, starting on July 25. The T20I series will be played at the same venue on July 25, 27 and 29.
Commenting on the change in schedule, Shah said, "We understand that circumstances are extraordinary, but the BCCI would like to extend its full support to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) during these tough times for the smooth conduct of the upcoming series."
The delay is due to a couple of staff members, who had recently toured England had returned with positive Covid-19 reports upon arrival in Sri Lanka.
With the main Indian squad busy with the preparation for the Test series against England, Shikhar Dhawan was appointed to lead a 'second-string' side in the three-match ODI series, followed by the T20I also consisting of three matches.
This tour was considered a chance for many to stake a claim for a place for the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played in October-November in UAE and Oman.
Wary of the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, SLC has kept two groups of players in bio-bubbles - one in Colombo, and one in Dambulla - as part of its contingency plans ahead of the upcoming limited-overs series against India. There are reports suggesting that one of the players in the alternate squad has also been tested positive for the virus.
(With inputs from PTI)