Three Sri Lanka players sent home for Covid breaches before England ODIs

An already torrid tour of England got worse for Sri Lanka before the first one-day international at Chester-le-Street on Tuesday after three players were sent home for breaching the team’s biosecure arrangements.

While the so-called bubbles in place for international cricket this summer are less stringent than last year, both sets of players have been asked to remain in their team hotels, outside of training and match days, because of a local rise in Covid-19 cases.

しかしながら, footage emerged online of Sri Lanka’s vice-captain, Kusal Mendis, the wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella and the batsman Danushka Gunathilaka out in Durham city centre on Sunday evening, with the trio now suspended as a result and facing disciplinary action.

A statement from Sri Lanka read: “This decision was taken following a preliminary inquiry conducted over a video posted on social media in which the said three players can be seen outside their designated hotel. The three players will be suspended, from all forms of cricket, until the completion of the inquiry.”

The removal of three first-team players deepens Sri Lanka’s troubles after a 3-0 defeat in the Twenty20 series, while in 50-over cricket they sit bottom of the 13-team Super League – the competition that this three-match ODI series is part of – and risk missing out on automatic qualification for the 2023 ワールドカップ. Only the top seven in the league plus hosts India, who currently sit eighth, qualify, while the remaining countries enter a qualifying tournament alongside five associate sides.

This latest bubble breach once again highlights the conditions under which international cricketers are operating, with England’s players waiting to discover whether families will be allowed to join them for the Ashes tour of Australia this year. If not, those also involved in the T20 World Cup that precedes it face the prospect of four months without seeing loved ones.

Asked if such a scenario would force individuals to think hard about their availability, the fast bowler Mark Wood replied: “I’m sure a lot of the players would. We’re all around similar ages, with young families and things, so it will be discussed, it will never be taken lightly.

「「[The Australian] government has been pretty successful in terms of Covid cases, so if that’s the way it is we’ll have to see. [だが] it would be hard to be without your young family for such a long period of time.”

Wood is expected to feature on his home ground, with around 7,000 spectators present as part of the government’s pilot scheme for sporting events, but Jos Buttler and Jason Roy are both absent with calf and hamstring injuries respectively.

Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone could be asked to open alongside Jonny Bairstow although Dawid Malan, who has stayed on as cover after the T20s, represents another option for Eoin Morgan’s 50-over world champions.

Sourav Ganguly, president of the Board of Control for Cricket インドで, has confirmed the widely expected news that the T20 World Cup, expected to start on 17 10月, will be staged in the United Arab Emirates because of the Covid-19 situation in India.

The UAE is already set to host the second half of the Indian Premier League in September and October. 結果として, neighbouring Oman is being considered for the first round of the T20 World Cup to give the pitches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah a chance to recover.