Sri Lanka cricket team plans to resume training on June 1

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has decided to start training with the fast bowlers in a bio-safe environment, once it gets a green light from the government.

Wanindu Hasaranga

Sri Lanka bowler Wanindu Hasaranga warms-up during a team training session at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on January 9, 2020.   -  AFP

After a two-month hiatus, the Sri Lanka cricketers are likely to resume training in Colombo from June 1. With the country easing out the curfew, which was imposed to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has decided to start training with the fast bowlers in a bio-safe environment, once it gets a green light from the government.

Last week, Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur had a discussion with Dimuth Karunaratne, Lasith Malinga and Grant Flower. SLC’s chief executive Ashley de Silva and chairman of selectors Ashantha de Mel, too, were part of the meeting, along with the medical experts. “We are working on the protocols at the moment,” Arthur said.

Even de Mel confirmed the development to this publication. “We are planning to start on June 1, with the bowlers. Today, the coach called and told me that we have got the go-ahead, so we are hoping to start. We will have about 10-11 people, plus the coaching staff,” de Mel said.

While the players will stay at a star hotel in Colombo and use the gymnasium and the pool, they are likely to train at the SSC Cricket ground for the outdoor sessions. “There won’t be any batting sessions. It will be more about bowling and fitness for now,” de Mel said.  If this camp goes on smoothly, the full-fledged training with more players could be held in the third week of June.

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In a chat with Sportstar earlier this month, Arthur had stated they will start training with the bowlers so that they can be in shape before the cricketing action resumes. “We are hoping that the curfew breaks next week and we can bring in our fast bowling group (for training). We will only be allowed to bring in a small number of players, so we will bring the fast bowlers to the ground first, so that whenever we are ready, we know these guys have had enough preparation time,” he had said.

During the lockdown, Arthur had individual communication with the players. “The guys are training and I have a lot of communication with them. They have had to share a lot of stuff with me, which has allowed me to put the player-plan together, along with the other coaches. I have shared my thoughts with them, and they have had their inputs. A lot of it has been done on one-on-one basis with our players,” Arthur had said.

Sri Lanka hasn’t played international cricket ever since its series against England got called off in March and there are chances of India touring the island country a couple of months later. However, a lot would depend on how things pan out over the next few weeks.

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