England all-rounder Moeen Ali is unlikely to take part in the two-Test series against Sri Lanka after his Coronavirus quarantine was extended, ESPNcricinfo reported on Tuesday (January 12).
Moeen returned COVID-19 positive after landing in Sri Lanka on January 4 and was told to isolate for 10 days, with England later confirming that he would not feature in the Test series opener at Galle from Thursday (January 14).
According to ESPNcricinfo, authorities in Sri Lanka have insisted that Moeen remains isolated for a while longer. Therefore, he is now hoping to be released on Friday or Saturday.
The England team management are understood to be sympathetic to the decision.
With the second Test starting on January 22, Moeen might recover in time but the England management don’t want to rush his return as he will need time to rebuild his fitness.
Ali is now likely to return to action in the first Test against India, starting February 5 in Chennai.
"Poor Mo, he's had it a little bit tough," Chris Woakes, who was deemed as a possible close contact, quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. "He had some symptoms, which I think he's over now, which is good. But you wouldn't wish this illness on anyone, so thankfully he's recovered pretty well.
"It's definitely been a tough week or so. A lot of the guys have been touching in with him. I was in contact with him all last week, particularly whilst I was in isolation, and I know the guys are playing a lot of PlayStation with him and talking to him through headsets.
"You try to keep busy as much as you can [in isolation], but it's tricky, isn't it? I've certainly not gone through that before. I know the docs are checking in with him very frequently, a good few times a day to make sure he's okay, and we also have a psychologist here who is in touch with the players."
Dom Bess and Jack Leach are set to play as England's leading spinners against Sri Lanka, although Mason Crane, Matt Parkinson and Amar Virdi are also part of the squad as reserves.