Australia’s McDonald misses start of Sri Lanka tour


Australia’s head coach Andrew McDonald was forced to stay back on the day of the team’s departure for the tour of Sri Lanka following a positive COVID-19 test.

McDonald, who succeeded Justin Langer recently, returned a positive result on Tuesday afternoon, barely hours ahead of leaving for his first assignment as full-time coach with the team as Australia tour Sri Lanka for the first time in six years.

McDonald, who was interim head coach on the team’s successful tour of Pakistan earlier this year, will remain in Melbourne under isolation for seven days, Cricket Australia said. In his absence, assistant coach Michael Di Venuto will helm the squad for the start of the T20I series, on 7 June. Subject to clearing further COVID testing, McDonald is expected to link up with the team in Colombo ahead of the second T20I, the following day.

After weeks of speculation and uncertainty, due to widespread power and fuel shortages in the island nation, Sri Lanka Cricket on Monday confirmed that the white-ball series – comprising three T20Is and five ODIs – will indeed be played under lights as per the original schedule.

“There is no disruption in the schedule and the white ball games will be night or day-night affairs,” SLC Secretary Mohan de Silva told Cricbuzz on Tuesday.

“The great challenge for coaches and players is to manage your workload across the four years,” McDonald had said after signing his four-year deal with Australia. “I’d like to think I have the coaching staff to step-up, and we can elevate certain coaches at different times to take on different tours and different challenges.

“While doing that it’s only growing the depth of our coaching staff. Coaches will get exposed along the journey to help out the workload which is quite significant for a head coach.”