"If he wanted, he could have easily taken the team back to India" - SLC secretary Mohan de Silva hails Rahul Dravid for continuing the series despite COVID-19 outbreak

Rahul Dravid. (Credits: Getty)
Rahul Dravid. (Credits: Getty)

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) secretary Mohan de Silva admitted that Rahul Dravid had a significant role in the recent white-ball series continuing despite the COVID-19 outbreak hitting the Indian camp.

After the first T20I in Colombo, all-rounder Krunal Pandya tested positive for COVID-19. It forced at least eight more Indian players to isolate themselves because they were in close contact.

Furthermore, it left the Indian squad with only 11 players available to take the field. However, the series went ahead amid the disruptions. Even though India lost the T20 series, the tourists garnered immense respect for not abandoning it. Indian coach Rahul Dravid stated before the second T20I that all 11 players are good enough to make it; hence, he feels excited to see them perform.

"We have 11 players available and we will play them. There is nothing to feel sorry about. All the 11 are good enough to make the XI and that's why they were picked in the squad. I feel it is exciting to see them perform. Yes, the balance of the side will be a little fragile because we can only pick from the players available," Rahul Dravid said.

Speaking to Cricbuzz, SLC secretary Mohan de Silva acknowledged that India's support staff, headed by Rahul Dravid, were accommodating and understood the situation. De Silva understands Dravid could have canceled the remaining matches and returned home. However, he admired the former Indian skipper for praising their efforts in protecting all the Indian players.

"The most encouraging aspect of the whole Pandya episode was the role of the support staff of the Indian team, led by Rahul. If he wanted, he could have easily taken the team back to India. He was very accommodating and understood the situation. He appreciated the efforts we were taking and realised that we were doing our best to protect the boys from virus dangers with all bio-secure guidelines," Mohan de Silva said.

"It was a very valuable tour for us" - SLC secretary Mohan de Silva

Wanindu Hasaranga and Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka appeal. (Credits: Twitter)
Wanindu Hasaranga and Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka appeal. (Credits: Twitter)

De Silva also opened up on Jay Shah and Sourav Ganguly's role in organizing the long-standing tour, claiming it was an invaluable series for them. He revealed that the three ODIs and as many T20Is ended up earning them $ 14.5 million, boosting Sri Lanka's finances enormously.

"It was a very, very valuable tour for us. We were looking forward to it for a long time. We were very grateful to BCCI top brass - Jay Shah and Sourav Ganguly - for acceding to our request to play three additional T20Is. Originally the tour was for only three ODIs. It enhanced the commercial value of the whole tour. We ended up earning almost $ 14.5 million. It is a huge boost to our finances," De Silva added.

Though Sri Lanka lost the ODI series 2-1, they punched well above their weight and fought in all three games. Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga carried his form from the ODIs to the T20Is, leading Sri Lanka to victory in the T20Is. In the final T20I, he took figures of 4-0-9-4 to contain India to just 81 in 20 overs.

Edited by Prem Deshpande
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