England to continue Sri Lanka tour despite restrictions

English cricket authorities are confident the men’s national team’s upcoming tour to Sri Lanka will go ahead as planned, despite the Asian team currently being in South Africa where new travel restrictions have been imposed due to the pandemic.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Wednesday that anyone who has been in South Africa in the past two weeks should immediately isolate themselves because of a new variant of the virus there.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has received assurances that its players and staff who traveled back to the U.K. from an aborted South Africa tour on Dec. 10 are exempt from the order and therefore will not have to spend the festive season in quarantine.

The latest update from the British government put a new question mark behind England’s tour to Sri Lanka next month, not least because the Sri Lankans are currently in South Africa preparing for a series of tests.

While the ECB remains in contact with its Sri Lankan counterparts, it is optimistic that the rescheduled trip – consisting of two Tests – will go ahead.

“As for the English test team and support staff, they will continue to prepare normally for the test trip to Sri Lanka,” the ECB said.

“The tour group is scheduled to depart on January 2, 2021. ECB will continue to monitor the current situation regarding international travel and work closely with Sri Lanka Cricket.”

Sri Lanka’s government has suspended commercial flights arriving from the U.K., but the English team will travel on a privately chartered aircraft and therefore is not affected by the ban.

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