England’s Test squad has crossed the first hurdle ahead of their upcoming tour of Sri Lanka as they have all tested negative for COVID-19. The tests conducted on the 30th of December means that the Englishmen are free to fly to Sri Lanka as planned on Saturday. England and Sri Lanka will lock horns in a two-match Test series from the 14th of January.
After arriving in Sri Lanka, the English tourists have to spend ten days in a bio-secure environment in Hambantota – although they would be able to train outside. Joe Root’s men will face the Lankan Lions in two Tests in Galle, slated to take place on the 14th and 21st of January behind closed doors. The visit from England was in doubt, bearing in mind the new COVID-19 variant; however, the ECB worked closely with Sri Lanka cricket board to make it happen.
Ed Smith, the chairman of England selectors, decided to rest ace all-rounder Ben Stokes and paceman Jofra Archer from the tour. The 23-man squad for the tour of Sri Lanka also witnesses Rory Burns missing out while there are seven reserve players, keeping in mind the need to carry an extended team. After a brief visit to Sri Lanka, the Three Lions will travel to India to partake in four Tests, five T20Is, and three ODIs, commencing from February.
England’s tour of Sri Lanka was postponed in March 2020:
Meanwhile, the upcoming visit by England to Sri Lanka is the same tour that stood postponed in March 2020. The rapidly exploding COVID-19 outbreak forced the two cricketing boards to abandon it for the time being during the tourists’ warm-up game. England should be optimistic of their chances in the Island nation, considering they blanked them in a three-match series back in 2018 in their backyard.