England captain Joe Root is confident any positive COVID-19 tests in the squad would not force the cancellation of their two-Test tour of Sri Lanka this month, but said his side would have to keep a close watch on their physical and mental wellbeing.
Part of the World Test Championship, the series was scheduled to take place in March last year but was postponed following the COVID-19 pandemic. It will now begin on Jan. 14.
England’s one-day international series in South Africa last month was postponed after breaches of the teams’ bio-secure environment in Cape Town, but Sri Lanka’s tour of South Africa and Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand have both gone ahead despite positive cases in the squads.
“I don’t think it (positive cases) will result in an automatic end,” Root told reporters. “The reality is around the rest of the world… teams have had to deal with positive cases… We have to manage it as best we can.”
Root said the team would be travelling with a psychologist to help them cope with the challenges posed by playing during a pandemic.
“There’s going to be a little bit of extra support for the players in terms of a psychologist on the ground at all times, making sure there’s someone to speak to,” he added.
“If at any stage it becomes too much, they are entitled to get out… As captain, a big part of my role is to make sure people are comfortable.”
England are fourth in the World Test Championship standings behind Australia, India and New Zealand and Root said his side must “play out of our skin” if they are to reach the final, which will be contested between the top two teams at Lord’s in June.
“We know we are not totally best placed at the moment, but we have a good opportunity to win games now,” he said. “All we can do is look after those performances.”