Sri Lanka’s tour of West Indies has been postponed after Head Coach Mickey Arthur and top order batsman Lahiru Thirimanne tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. All players, support staff and net bowlers who were set to begin training ahead of the West Indies tour went through PCR testings on Tuesday and both Thirimanne and Arthur were tested positive. Both individuals will be taken to a quarantine hotel identified by SLC today. All players who were their close contacts have been made to self quarantine.
While Thirimanne had attended the wedding of wicketkeeper batsman Sadeera Samarawickrama on Tuesday, Arthur was having a break after the Test series against England.
The fitness tests that were set to take place on Friday will be now postponed to next week. Sources said that there will be another PCR test on the 10th February and depending on the results of that, it will be decided when the players will go through the fitness tests.
There was quite a lot of interest among cricket fans after The Island reported on Tuesday that the players will go through a fitness test introduced by new trainer Grant Luden. Adopted by other international teams like Australia and India, this fitness test required players to finish a two kilometer run within eight minutes and 35 seconds. The players now have an extra few days to train to get over the line.
SLC will now negotiate with their counterparts in West Indies to push the tour to another date.
Sri Lanka were set to play two Tests, three ODIs and three T-20 Internationals in West Indies.
The players will now prepare for the bilateral series against Bangladesh that is set to take place in April.
SLC had put in place strict measures during the England series to ensure no player or member of the support staff tested positive for the virus. The series was played behind closed doors. However, board officials said that restrictions will be relaxed for the Bangladesh series.
SLC’s decision to reschedule the tour of West Indies comes a mere 24 hours after Australia called off their tour of South Africa due to a serious second wave and a new variant of the virus.