Arthur says Sri Lanka back at match level
COLOMBO (AFP) – Sri Lanka are raring to play international cricket again even though India have postponed a tour planned for this month because of the coronavirus, coach Mickey Arthur said Friday after his team completed a first post lockdown training session.
The “return-to-play” programme begun at the start of this month had been a success, Arthur told reporters as he wrapped up the first residential training for 13 players.
“We have done a lot of conditioning and every day we have upped their bowling,” Arthur said. “So they are almost ready in the next month, they will be ready to play cricket.”
The next training session is due in about a week even though Sri Lanka still have no idea when they will play again.
India, who were due to visit Sri Lanka this month for three one-day internationals and three T20 matches, have called off the tour because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cricket on the island came to a halt on March 13 when England pulled out during a practice match ahead of a two-Test series.
Arthur had customised home-training regimes for many players in the national team after the lockdown was imposed on March 20.
A 24-hour curfew in Colombo was eased on May 27, but a night curfew is still in force.
Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne said getting back to training after idling during the 24-hour curfew in the capital was not easy.
“Even when we are training in the first day it was really hard, but now I am shaping and I am getting my fitness back,” Karunaratne said.
“We are trying to bounce back and play good international cricket.”