Australia jet off to Sri Lanka as stars put aside ethical concerns to embark on tour
Australia jet off to Sri Lanka after stars receive the all clear to play despite political and economic unrest in host country – but tourists will be without new coach Andrew McDonald after he tested positive for Covid
- Australia’s men’s cricket team have set off for Sri Lanka despite political unrest
- The island nation is currently in the midst of political and economic turmoil
- Players reportedly expressed concerns over the timing and ethics of a tour
- However, they have jetted off after receiving assurances from security experts
- New coach Andrew McDonald will miss the start of the tour after getting Covid
Australia have set off for Sri Lanka after putting their ethical concerns behind them to embark on a tour to the nation plagued by political and economic unrest.
Sri Lanka was placed under curfew in early May after protests turned deadly and although those measures have been lifted, rising inflation and shortages of key resources continue to trouble the country.
As a result, a number of Australian players are reported to have raised concerns over the timing of the tour to Sri Lanka – their first visit since 2016 – but insisted they would support the decision from officials.
Australia have jetted off for their tour of Sri Lanka despite concerns surrounding the country
Ashton Agar and Josh Inglis pose on board their flight to Sri Lanka where they will play three T20 matches, five ODIs and two Tests
Cricket Australia chiefs received further assurances two weeks ago over the safety of the tour after surveillance of the country undertaken by their own head of security gave the all clear.
And on Wednesday, players were snapped aboard a flight to the island nation, with former captain Steve Smith sharing a selfie while wearing a facemask as Ashton Agar and Josh Inglis posed with clenched fists as the players got comfy.
Earlier this year, Australia’s first tour to Pakistan in 24 years went off without a hitch despite instances of bloodshed and turmoil in the country.
Their three-match T20 series will be played under lights in Colombo, although rolling power cuts have also been pinpointed as a concern by players and there was reportedly consideration that those matches could be changed to day games.
Sri Lanka is in the middle of a crippling economic crisis and the army has been deployed to restore order in cities across the country, with a nationwide curfew in place
Mobs of protesters set fire to government buildings, cars and shops over the past two nights
Following the short format series, the team will travel across the nation to Pallekele for the ODIs, before the Tests in Galle. Last week, Cricket Australia CEO Todd Greenberg insisted that the players would tour.
‘The players are very aware of the situation in Sri Lanka and it’s fair to say there is a level of discomfort around touring in conditions that contrast those faced by the people of Sri Lanka, such as rising food prices, power cuts and fuel rationing,’ he said.
‘Ultimately our players want to continue to play cricket and will take direction, guidance and advice from CA about tour arrangements and planning.’
However, Andrew McDonald will miss the start of his first tour as Australia’s full-time cricket coach after testing positive for COVID-19.
However, Cricket Australia has received assurances over the safety of a tour to Sri Lanka
Australia will be without new coach Andrew McDonald after he tested positive for Covid
McDonald, who was interim coach after Justin Langer’s departure in February, needs to isolate for seven days while Australia depart for Sri Lanka on Thursday.
Assistant coach Michael Di Venuto will step up into the top job for Tuesday’s opening Twenty20 in Colombo.
After leading Australia to a gritty 1-0 Test series win in Pakistan, McDonald was in April named coach of the men’s team for the next next four years.
Australia will play three T20s and five ODIs before a two-Test series against Sri Lanka in Galle, starting on June 29.