India's limited-overs series against Sri Lanka is now set to begin on July 18 as the BCCI and SLC announced a revised schedule "on the basis of health advisory after the Sri Lankan contingent detected two COVID positive cases." The ODIs will now be played on July 18, 20 and 23, followed by the T20Is on July 25, 27 and 29.
On Friday, Sri Lanka's data analyst GT Niroshan was the second Covid-19 case in the Sri Lankan camp after batting coach Grant Flower had tested positive on Thursday, after their arrival from England.
SLC has put together two back-up squads, one group isolating in Colombo and another in Dambulla, as part of their contingency measure to ensure the India series goes ahead. A player from the back-up squad in Colombo also tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, but it remains to be seen if it will affect Sri Lanka's preparations.
Meanwhile, players currently in Colombo have been forced to isolate for two more days after Niroshan and Flower tested positive for the Delta variant of the virus. This extended isolation period would have left Sri Lanka with no outdoor session before the first ODI had the series begun on July 13.
"We understand that circumstances are extraordinary, but the BCCI would like to extend its full support to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) during these tough times for the smooth conduct of the upcoming series," BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a media release. "Our medical team is in constant touch with the team of doctors at SLC and together following all safety protocols that will help the series to get underway. We are confident that both nations will put up a spirited show in the days to come and we are in for some exciting cricket."
The Sri Lankan team returned home from England after a short limited-overs tour early last week. The India series postponement is the latest issue SLC has to grapple with, even as they abruptly announced captaincy switch from Kusal Perera to Dasun Shanaka on the back of a messy contracts stand-off between the players and the board.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo