India's Sri Lanka tour "close to impossible at present" - BCCI official

Virat Kohli & company are due to fly across for three ODIs, three T20Is against Sri Lanka in July.

India's tour of Sri Lanka is under threat amid COVID-19 pandemic | Getty

In an informal response to Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) request for the Indian board to explore the chances of going ahead with the limited-overs series in the Island nation in July, a BCCI official speaking to IANS said the trip is "close to impossible at present" due to COVID-19 pandemic. 

Team India is scheduled to travel across for three ODIs and three T20Is against the Lankans.

But with the deadly outbreak leading to an indefinite lockdown, the tour, at least at this stage, seems highly unlikely to be played on time. 

Read Also: BCCI treasurer says India open to idea of playing entire Australia Test series in Adelaide 

"I would say it is close to impossible at present. Firstly, we need to take one step at a time in the current scenario and you do realise that some of our players are stuck in Mumbai and Bengaluru -- two zones which are highly affected by the pandemic," the board official told IANS on the condition of anonymity. 

"Without even going into the question on whether the Indian team would travel without the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma among others, I would say will international travel be permissible? So, we all need to wait and watch how things unfold."

The SLC had made its request in wake of how the Island nation is recovering smoother from the health crisis and in hope to get some financial relief via the lucrative India visit. 

"But keeping in mind how efficiently the (Indian) government has looked to fight the battle against the pandemic, I doubt we will be in a position to travel outside the country by mid-July," said the board official. "The BCCI will obviously try to honour all its commitments, if not now, then at a later date which suits both boards involved. But looking at the current scenarios, safety is the priority."

"Also, to get cricketers in the red zone to come out and travel to a green zone is currently not allowed. So, if the government does in the near future allow that, we will have to see what happens from there on and if we can then start domestic cricket. Domestic cricket is the way forward at present."

India is currently awaiting government directives for the fourth phase of the lockdown from May 18. Hope is that some travelling restrictions will be eased, but it seems improbable that the Indian team will be playing any form of cricket in the near future. 

(Inputs from IANS)


By Kashish Chadha - 17 May, 2020

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