Sri Lanka cricketers return to training today
COLOMBO: A select group of Sri Lanka cricketers, mainly bowlers, will return to training on Monday, amid efforts to restart the game after the coronavirus shutdown, the cricket board said on Sunday.
Cricket came to a halt on March 13 when the visiting England team pulled out on the second day of a four-day practice match ahead of their two-Test series with Sri Lanka’s home series against South Africa also among its casualties.
Thirteen players will check into a hotel for a 12-day residential camp at the Colombo Cricket Club (CCC) Ground, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement. The players will be joined by a four-member team of coaches and assistants.
“The players taking part in the camp represent 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,” it said. “Members taking part in the camp will not be allowed to leave the hotel premises or the practice venue to attend personal matters.”
A coaching and support staff of four will oversee the training, during which players will not be allowed outside the hotel premises and the practice venue.
The SLC would ensure everyone at the training camp adhered to the government health regulations, it added.
Sri Lanka are preparing to host India for a limited-overs series in July.
However, India’s cricket board has said it will wait for more clarity regarding curbs on international travel before making a decision on the tour.
Head coach Mickey Arthur had customised home-training regimes for many players in the national team after the lockdown was imposed.
Former Sri Lankan sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekara in 2017 slammed the national team as ‘too fat and unfit to field five-day Test matches’.
The comments came after they suffered a humiliating one-day series defeat against bottom-ranked Zimbabwe and an early exit from the Champions Trophy.
Sri Lanka later overhauled the coaching team and Arthur has said he was keeping in touch with each player to monitor their progress before international competition resumes.
On Saturday, South Africa also allowed training and playing of professional non-contact sport, a decision welcomed by its cricket board.
“This is a big boost for the operational side of our cricket,” Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) acting chief executive, Jacques Faul, said in a statement.
CSA’s Covid-19 steering committee will meet on Monday to draw up a protocol for the return to training and playing, he added.