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Sri Lanka v England

Coronavirus casts doubt over Sri Lanka-England Tests

England Sri Lanka coronavirus
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

England’s upcoming two-Test series in Sri Lanka could be in serious doubt, if the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) escalates in the host country.

On Wednesday, Sri Lanka recorded its first confirmed coronavirus case. Subsequently, the country temporarily halted on-arrival visa for tourists, also urging the public to avoid foreign travel as much as possible. The country has started quarantining visitors from Italy, Iran and South Korea.

Worldwide, there have been over 4,500 deaths due to the outbreak.

The Joe Root-led England team, already in the country, and playing their second warm-up game of the tour, are following the detailed protocol laid down by England Cricket Board. Having already substituted handshakes for fist bumps, they have also been told to avoid obliging fans for selfies and autographs. Over the course of their stay, the team has been in communication with the British High Commission in Colombo.

Reportedly, if a player is to be taken ill, he could be kept under a 14-day quarantine; the isolation could extend to the entire squad, which would result in the series being called off.

Incidentally, UK recorded its biggest spike in coronavirus cases on Wednesday, crossing the 450-mark overall. With travel restrictions in place, most England fans are expected to not make the trip for the two Tests, starting March 19.

Sporting events have taken a hit across the globe; among others, the NBA have suspended their season until further notice, ATP tournaments in California stand cancelled, and the Bahrain Grand Prix will be closed to spectators. On the other hand, the India-South Africa, and the New Zealand-Australia ODI series are set to go ahead as planned.

A call on the Indian Premier League, which is set to feature players from several nationalities, will be taken after a governing council meeting on March 14, although a fresh report in ESPNCricinfo suggests that the tournament will take place behind closed doors.

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