England cricketers have been advised to ditch the customary handshakes and observe minimum contact by their medical team in wake of the coronavirus threat. Also Read - It Will be Tougher For Bowlers to Find Their Rhythm After Lockdown: Brett Lee
Joe Root‘s men will not be shaking hands on their upcoming tour of Sri Lanka and instead greet each other with fist bumps. What has contributed to the ban is the fact that on their recent tour of South Africa, several England cricketers were affected by gastroenteritis and flu problems ahead of the first Test. Also Read - Ben Stokes Questions India's Intent During World Cup 2019 Game vs England at Edgbaston, Says There Was No Intent From MS Dhoni And Kedar Jadhav
“After the illnesses that swept through the squad in South Africa, we are well aware of the importance of keeping contact to a minimum and we’ve been given some really sound and sensible advice from our medical team to help prevent spreading germs and bacteria,” Root said ahead of their departure to Sri Lanka for a two-Test series. Also Read - Sri Lanka Pacer Shehan Madushanka Detained For Drug Possession
“We are not shaking hands with each other, using instead the well-established fist bump, and we are washing hands regularly and wiping down surfaces using the anti-bacterial wipes and gels we’ve been given in our immunity packs,” he added.
He, however, denied that the coronavirus threat will have any impact on their tour and said they will advise as per the authorities. “There is no suggestion that the tour will be affected, but of course it is an evolving situation so we are in regular contact with the authorities and will proceed as advised, but at this stage we fully expect the tour to continue as planned,” he said.
The last time England were in Sri Lanka, they whitewashed the hosts 3-0 in a three-match Test series. While their last performance here will be a confidence booster, Root isn’t going to take them lightly, expecting a stern challenge
“The conditions will be a bit different with the time of year we are going this time,” he said. “The three games we played out there last time were all very close with less than 60 runs between the teams in the last two Tests. It was an exceptional performance last time and I think we can take a lot of confidence from that in terms of how to play out there. We respect how good a side they are in their own conditions and we’ll find ourselves up against a stiff challenge.”
Ahead of the Tests, England will play two practice matches against Sri Lanka Board Presidents XI from March 7.