The Sri Lankan cricket team, led by veteran pacer Lasith Malinga, arrived on Thursday for the three-match T20 series against India amid tight security after the city witnessed widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The Sri Lankan team headed straight to the team hotel amid thick security cover.
The members of the Indian team are expected to arrive in batches on Friday for the series opener on Sunday. “Both the teams have optional training sessions, Sri Lanka followed by India in the evening,” an official of the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) said.
Assam had witnessed widespread protests against the CAA in December, which affected Ranji and U-19 matches at the domestic level because of curfew.
“But situation is absolutely normal now and tourism is back in the state. We are hosting Khelo India Games from January 10 and about seven thousand players will participate,” ACA secretary Devajit Saikia told PTI.
“It’s now safe as any other place in the country. The state government is looking after the security arrangement and there’s no issue at all.”
About 27,000 tickets of the 39,500-capacity Barasapra Stadium has already been sold out. “People were busy with the Christmas and New Year celebrations. We are expecting a last-minute ticket rush now,” he said.
The second T20 will be played in Indore on January 7 while Pune will host the final match of the series on January 10. The short series will mark the Twenty20 World Cup countdown for the two neighbouring countries.
Former skipper Angelo Mathews and Dhananjaya de Silva have been recalled to the 16-member Sri Lankan squad. Mathews last played a T20I against South Africa in August 2018.
For India, the series will mark the return of their pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah who has recovered from lower back surgery, while opener Shikhar Dhawan will also make a comeback.
Opener Rohit Sharma and pacer Mohammed Shami have been rested for the three T20Is.
Sri Lanka Squad: Lasith Malinga (captain), Danushka Gunatilleke, Avishka Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Isuru Udana, Bhanuka Rajapaksha, Dasan Fernando, Wanidu Raja, Kasun Lahiru Kumara, Kusal Mendis, Lakshan Moonakan.