Sri Lanka begin training on Monday, South Africa to follow suit

COLOMBO (Reuters) - A select group of Sri Lanka cricketers, mainly bowlers, will return to training on Monday, amid efforts to restart the game after the coronavirus shutdown, the cricket board said on Sunday.

Professional cricket has been suspended since March because of the pandemic, with Sri Lanka's home series against England and South Africa among its casualties.

Thirteen players will check into a hotel for a 12-day residential camp at the Colombo Cricket Club, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement.

"The players taking part in the camp represent a general squad chosen from across all formats, and primarily consist of bowlers, as they need more time for conditioning before going into active competition," it said.

A coaching and support staff of four will oversee the training, during which players will not be allowed outside the hotel premises and the practice venue.

The SLC would ensure everyone at the training camp adhered to the government health regulations, it added.

Sri Lanka are preparing to host India for a limited-overs series in July.

However, India's cricket board has said it will wait for more clarity regarding curbs on international travel before making a decision on the tour.

On Saturday, South Africa also allowed training and playing of professional non-contact sport, a decision welcomed by its cricket board.

"This is a big boost for the operational side of our cricket," Cricket South Africa's (CSA) acting chief executive, Jacques Faul, said in a statement.

CSA's COVID-19 steering committee will meet on Monday to draw up a protocol for the return to training and playing, he added.

On Saturday, Britain allowed elite competitive sport in England to resume behind closed doors from Monday, in compliance with strict conditions.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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