Because of COVID-19 rules, the 25-strong Indian squad and support staff for the visit of Sri Lanka were checked into their Colombo hotel via the back entrance, violating the tradition of greeting them with garlands.
While the Test team prepares for a five-match series against England in August, a second-string Indian team, led by Rahul Dravid, will play three One-Day Internationals and as many Twenty-20 Internationals against Sri Lanka beginning July 13.
The group arrived in Colombo yesterday afternoon and checked into Taj Samudra without being greeted warmly, according to Pankaj Sampat, the hotel’s general manager. He went on to describe the safety precautions taken by both parties.
“Leave aside the garland ceremony, we could not even glimpse at the players. The team was not escorted from the front but the players were sent in their rooms from the back. Both teams – India and Sri Lanka – will be in strict bio-bubble. They will be catered by the designated staffs, who are also staying in the hotel.
“Players will have their food at certain specified places only. This [pandemic] is a different war and we miss the welcoming ceremony this time. However, it is our pleasure ad honour to host them,” Gupta told Deccan Chronicle.
Three Sri Lankan players, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, and Danushka Gunathilaka, were dismissed from the UK tour for violating bio-security standards on the same day the Indian squad moved from its pre-departure bubble in Mumbai to the main one in Colombo.
In the three-match T20I series, the Lankans were thrashed. The Kusal Perera-led side will now look to reclaim some glory in the One-Day International series, which will be played on June 29, July 1, and July 4. On July 5, they will return to Colombo.
India’s full roster and schedule for the 2021 Sri Lanka tour (Timings in IST)
1st ODI: July 13 at 2:30 p.m. at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo
2nd ODI: July 16 – R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo – 2:30 PM
3rd ODI: July 18 – R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo – 2:30 PM
1st T20I: July 21 – R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo – 7:00 PM
2nd ODI: July 23 – R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo – 7:00 PM
3rd T20I: July 13 – R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo – 7:00 PM
India squad: Shikhar Dhawan (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (Wicketkeeper), Sanju Samson (Wicketkeeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Vice-captain), Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya
Net Bowlers: Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh