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England in Sri Lanka 2020-21 – Joe Root

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Psychologist to travel with team to Sri Lanka as part of focus on players’ mental wellbeing

England will have to “manage” the threat of Covid-19 as well as devote extra attention to physical and mental wellbeing on their three-month tour of the subcontinent, according to Test captain Joe Root – and that includes being ready for the possibility of players testing positive.

England’s last two trips overseas have been aborted, in differing circumstances, due to issues related to the coronavirus. They will take a charter flight to Sri Lanka on Saturday after the touring party all returned negative Covid-19 tests. It marks the resumption of a tour that was postponed in March, when England returned home early as the pandemic escalated worldwide, ready to fulfil a two-Test commitment that will be followed by four more Tests in India, as well as ODI and T20I series.

The resumption of life in biosecure environments comes a matter of weeks after the abandonment of England’s ODI series in South Africa. In Cape Town, what Root described as a “domino effect” of positive cases among the South Africa squad, staff at the team hotel, and then England’s party – albeit they were later determined to be false positives – led to the tour being called off on player welfare grounds.

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