23 Dec

England will be allowed to fly to Sri Lanka for next month's Tests despite flights from Britain being suspended because of the new variant of Covid-19. 

They will fly on a chartered plane and take coronavirus tests before departure and upon their expected arrival in Sri Lanka on 3 January. 

They will then spend 10 days in a bio-secure bubble before the first of two Tests starts in Galle on 14 January. The ECB reportedly has ramped up biosecurity plans in a bid to avoid a repeat of earlier this month’s abandonment of the South Africa tour. 

Players are expected to be offered mental health screening before the tour after growing concerns over a coronavirus outbreak inside the team’s bubble in South Africa. Ashley Giles, managing director of England men’s cricket, made the commitment this week, saying: “These guys have been living in bubbles for long periods of time and their mental health and wellbeing is the absolute priority for us.” 

Sri Lanka Cricket say England are "satisfied" with the arrangements. 

The country suspended all direct flights from Britain on Tuesday. Despite a recent spike, Sri Lanka has recorded 38,000 coronavirus cases with 183 deaths. 

John Stephenson 


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