Wed, 03 Mar 2021

Galle [Sri Lanka], January 16 (ANI): Moeen Ali, the England all-rounder, has been released from quarantine and has joined his teammates in Galle after serving an extended isolation period.

The 33-year-old cricketer had tested negative for COVID-19 prior to England's departure from the UK but returned a positive test for coronavirus following the team's arrival at the Sri Lanka airport in Hambantota.

According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, Moeen was quarantined for ten days but his isolation was extended to 13 after the Sri Lankan government expressed their reservations in light of a new strain of the virus.

"It's great to have Mo back. When we walked into the changing room after one of the sessions today, we saw Mo and just saw the smile on everyone's faces," ESPNcricinfo quoted Sam Curran, Moeen's team-mate as saying.

"He's obviously had a really tough couple of weeks and no-one wants to get into the situation he was in. Thankfully he got through that okay, and we're all really excited to have him back in the group to play cricket again, because we all know what an awesome player he is, and to be around," he added.

Moeen last played for England in August 2019 against Australia after which he took a break from the longest format of the game having missed England's central contract.

"I'm sure tomorrow when he has a run around it will be nice for him to get back playing cricket but to be honest I don't really know when he'll be back," Curran said.

"I'm sure everyone's just really looking forward to having Mo back. I'm sure he'll start training tomorrow," he added.

Earlier this week, two staff members at England's team hotel in Sri Lanka were tested positive for COVID-19. However, the England Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday said that the body is not concerned as they are adhering to the protocols.

ECB's spokesperson also said that every member of the touring contingent is taking social distancing seriously and everyone continues to wear masks in indoor settings.

"We are not concerned. Our protocols have been excellent and we continue to be vigilant. We are the most compliant team in world cricket. We are the only international team in any sport to have a COVID compliance officer. He is responsible for ensuring we meet the highest of standards across our COVID protocols. We remain vigilant and respectful of the Sri Lankan authorities and we will do everything that is possible to keep our players and the general population safe," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"We are being vigilant around our team base in Galle and at the stadium. The players respect social distancing, wear masks in indoor settings, and at the hotel dine on individual tables. Our COVID compliance officer briefs the players and management on a daily basis and communicates the latest developments both in Sri Lanka and in the UK," he added.

Meanwhile, in the match, Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne hit half-centuries to stage a fightback for Sri Lanka before bad light brought an end to the third day's action in the first Test against England at the Galle International Stadium on Saturday.

At stumps, Sri Lanka's score read 156/2 with Thirimanne and Lasith Embuldeniya unbeaten on 76 and 0 respectively. The Dinesh Chandimal-led side is trailing by 130 runs in their second innings with eight wickets in the bag. (ANI)

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