One more sporting event was called off on 13th March, due to coronavirus threat! A practice match in Colombo was halted as England announced they would be flying back to London, and the first of two Test matches due to start on March 19 has been postponed.
England’s cricket team called off their Sri-Lanka tour on Friday over the “unprecedented” crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. A practice match in Colombo was halted as the team announced they would be flying back to London, and the first of two Test matches due to start on March 19 has been indefinitely postponed.
“At this time, the physical and mental wellbeing of our players and support teams is paramount,” said an England and Wales Cricket Board statement announcing the end of the tour.
The statement further said, “We will now look to bring them home to their families as soon as possible. These are completely unprecedented times, and decisions like this go beyond cricket.”
The four-day practice game against a Sri Lankan Board President’s XI side was halted near the end of the second day.
The game was going on and England’s team was fielding when the captain Joe Root came on to call the players off the field. The stadium was not so crowded with few spectators present to witness the match. Only a handful of England fans and a dozen locals were on the grounds to watch the two teams ahead of the first Test in Galle.
Root made it clear this week that players had been told to take extra precautions and not have contact with fans or members of the opposing team.
“It is against our nature as a team, we quite like to socialize and interact with fans and take selfies, autographs, and stuff. But it means that we can’t do that on this trip,” Root told reporters on Wednesday.
There were no handshakes between the teams before the practice game which is not liked by most of the players.
Though Sri Lanka has reported just three coronavirus cases since the start of the crisis, the game was called off in account of the severity of pandemic COVID-19 which has taken more than 4,300 lives around the world!
“We were told that England wants to return because of the threat of the coronavirus,” a Sri Lankan cricket official told in an interview.
“They decided to stop the practice match immediately and get back home,” he added.
The move came as Sri Lanka shut schools across the country and banned travelers from Iran, Italy, and South Korea and stopped issuing on-arrival visas to nationals of 48 countries, including Britain.
One more sporting event added to the number of various sporting events called off around the world due to the increasing spread of pandemic COVID-19!