The 25-strong Indian squad and support staff for the tour of Sri Lanka were checked into their Colombo hotel from the rear entrance, breaking the tradition of welcoming them with garlands because of COVID-19 protocols.
While the Test side is gearing up in the UK for a five-Test series against England in August, a second-string Indian team – under Rahul Dravid – will play three ODIs and as many T20Is against Sri Lanka starting July 13.
The cohort landed in Colombo yesterday afternoon and checked into Taj Samudra without a grand welcome, confirmed Pankaj Sampat, who is the general manager of the hotel. He further detailed the safety measures put in place for both sides.
“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.
The Indian team moved from their pre-departure bubble in Mumbai to the main one in Colombo on the same day three Sri Lankan players, namely Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka, were expelled from the UK tour for breaching bio-security protocols.
The Lankans were whitewashed in the three-match T20I series. The Kusal Perera-led side will now seek to salvage some pride in the ODI series – the three ODIs will be played on June 29, July 1 and 4. They will return to Colombo on July 5.
Full squad and schedule for India tour of Sri Lanka 2021 (Timings in IST)
1st ODI: July 13 – R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo – 2:30 PM
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