India vs Sri Lanka series to begin with T20Is

New Delhi: In a reversal to the original schedule, the Indian cricket team will now start the series against Sri Lanka with T20Is and then play the Test matches, after a request from the visiting side.

The Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) had earlier requested BCCI to shift the T20I series before the Test matches to allow a smoother bubble-to-bubble transfer of their T20I squad, who will have just concluded a series in Australia.

The dates for the series are still being tweaked, but the BCCI appears to have agreed to Sri Lanka Cricket’s request, an ESPNcricinfo report said.

This change in the dates also means that Virat Kohli will not play his 100th Test in Bengaluru, a prospect that was on the cards after he finished the South Africa tour with 99 Tests.

The first Test will now be played in Mohali, with the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, which has now upgraded its flood lights, set to host the tour-ending pink-ball Test.

On the other hand, Dharamsala is likely to open the tour with the first two T20Is before the teams move to Mohali for the final game.

It has been learnt that the board is reluctant to schedule the day-night Test in Mohali owing to fog and heavy dew in northern India in winters. Another reason for the change as per a Karnataka State Cricket Association official is Bengaluru offers direct connectivity to Colombo, which would then allow Sri Lanka to fly home without a stopover.

Reluctant for long to host pink-ball Tests, the BCCI has organised only two pink ball Test matches in India till now.

India hosted their first-ever day-night Test match in 2019 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata against Bangladesh while Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad hosted the second pink-ball affair against England last year. India won both Tests inside three days.

3 players test Covid positive ahead of West Indies ODIs

New Delhi: At least five to six members of the Indian squad including cricketers — Shreyas Iyer, Shikhar Dhawan and Ruturaj Gaikwad — have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the beginning of the ODI series against West Indies.

According to sources, Iyer, Dhawan and Gaikwad’s results came on Wednesday evening after the entire squad underwent a mandatory RT-PCR test before joining the bubble in Ahmedabad.

It has been learnt that apart from players a few support staff members have also tested positive. However, a formal statement from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still awaited.

Notably, the Indian team has been staying in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Ahmedabad since Monday, when they were asked to assemble. The team is to undergo three-day quarantine before the practice sessions kick off.

The quarantine period entered its third day on Wednesday and the team would have started practising from Thursday, but there is no clarity now if the practice would indeed start as scheduled.

The Indian team has a large contingent (of about 26 members, including net bowlers) and so there seems to be no imminent threat to the series overall.

Meanwhile, the West Indies team, which reached Ahmedabad, was also put up in the same hotel as India, and so are the match officials.

Teams are scheduled to play the first of three ODIs at the Narendra Modi Stadium on February 6. The ODI leg will be followed by three T20Is, which are scheduled to take place at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

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