Sri Lanka men's team analyst GT Niroshan has tested positive for Covid-19, one day after batting coach Grant Flower had also tested positive
, forcing Sri Lanka Cricket to consider the option of fielding a second-string side against India.
Both Flower and Niroshan have been moved to intermediate care facilities.
What is especially worrying for the team's doctors is that both men have contracted the Delta variant of the virus, which is particularly contagious as well as dangerous. The Sri Lanka squad was expected to come out of isolation and enter the team's bio-bubble on Friday, but will now be forced to spend at least two more days in isolation, and face another RT-PCR test, the results of which will determine whether the main squad can viably play the series against India.
SLC does have a contingency plan in place, however. They have two other groups of players in bio-bubbles - one in Colombo, and one in Dambulla - who could potentially step up to play the series against the second-string India squad that has been preparing for the limited-overs series, whose ODI leg is scheduled to start on Tuesday.
A member of Sri Lanka's medical staff said it was "too early to say" if the main squad is out of commission for the series. Sri Lanka's medical staff believes the two support staff members who have tested positive so far were infected while they were in England.
The India squad in Sri Lanka have so far had a relatively uneventful lead up to the series, but the disarray in Sri Lanka's camp has been worrying for the hosts. Already, Sri Lanka were expected to play the India series under a new captain - Dasun Shanaka
- who was appointed in controversial circumstances
. This latest news, and the possibility that the top-flight team may not take the field at all, raises questions not just about whether Sri Lanka can be competitive in the series, but also about the broadcast value of such a series.
India are due to play three ODIs and three T20s, all in Colombo's Khettarama stadium, with no crowd in attendance.