England captain Joe Root is confident that the COVID-19 pandemic will not derail or hamper his country's tour to Sri Lanka. England are due to fly to the subcontinent on Saturday ahead of a two-match Test series against Sri Lanka.
Joe Root also said that England will travel with a psychologist to ensure that the players' physical and mental wellbeing is taken care of.
"I don’t think it [COVID-19 cases] will end in an automatic end of the tour. The reality is, look around the rest of the world – Pakistan in New Zealand – teams have had to deal with positive cases on tour. That might be the case for us and if so we have to manage it as best as possible," Joe Root said.
“There’s going to be a little bit of extra support for the players in terms of a psychologist on the ground at all times, making sure there’s someone to speak to. As captain, a big part of my role is to make sure people are comfortable in the environment, in a position to be at the top of their game and play Test cricket to the best of their ability," he added.
Root's comments come after England's ODI series against South Africa was abandoned after a South Africa player and two hotel staff tested positive for COVID-19. Root believes that the situation in South Africa was 'unique', but Sri Lanka and India will present a different challenge for England.
England must be mindful of Sri Lanka's qualities: Joe Root
Joe Root expects Sri Lanka to put up a bigger fight than they did in 2018, when England enjoyed a 3-0 clean sweep in the Test series.
“It would be naive to expect the same as last time. We have to be smart, play to our strengths. We’re confident we can get two brilliant wins but also mindful of the challenges Sri Lanka will throw at us," he said.
The two-match Test series between England and Sri Lanka was originally supposed to be played in March 2020, but was postponed mid-tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first Test will now take place on January 14.
The series will serve as a preparation for England's full-fledged tour to India, which is due to get underway next month.
England and India will face off in four Tests as part of the ICC World Test Championship, along with five Twenty20s and three one-day matches.Published 02 Jan 2021, 18:46 IST