Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has made an appeal to Health Ministry to relax safety guidelines in a bid to resume international cricket in the island. Bangladesh’s three Test tour to the country is in serious doubt after the tourists raised objections against the two week quarantine requirement on arrival. SLC had taken great efforts to resume international cricket but strict guidelines by the Health Ministry has left them in quandary.
After discussions between SLC chief Shammi Silva and Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa, SLC formally wrote to Health Ministry asking of the possibilities of relaxed quarantine guidelines. Bangladesh had requested for a seven day quarantine period and then to start training in a ‘bubble’ as per the guidelines followed by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) who successfully hosted Test series against West Indies and Pakistan this summer.
While SLC were hoping for a positive response, board officials said that they will have to accept verdict off the health officials without inserting further pressure as they realized the concerns that had been raised. Bangladesh is one of the high risk countries in the region with the pandemic creating havoc.
Another issue that has been discussed is how many players that Bangladesh can bring on tour. Initially, the tourists had wanted to bring in 65 individuals with them that included the Test squad, the High Performance team and the support staff. However, Health Ministry had approved only 30 individuals at one moment. SLC was now requesting whether that number could be increased to 35.
SLC is also worried that their requests for leniency may set precedence with others entities too requesting for similar protocol. The board was willing to bear the brunt of a financial crisis even at the danger of not hosting any further international cricket at all for the rest of the year.
SLC has missed out on several bilateral cricket series this year. Tours by India, South Africa and England have been already postponed to next year and now the Bangladesh series which was originally scheduled in July is in danger. SLC was also scheduled to host this year’s Asia Cup.
The board had identified Pallekele and SSC as the venues to host the Tests. While the former was scheduled to host the first two games, the last Test was slotted for Colombo.