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Grant Flower faces SLC inquiry over bubble breach

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COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s cricket board is planning disciplinary action against the national side’s batting coach Grant Flower following allegations that he breached a bio-secure bubble during the recent England tour, sources said on Thursday.

Sri Lanka’s preparations for a home series against India were disrupted when Flower, 50, tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) on his return to the national team on July 6.

Three Sri Lankan players, including vice-captain Kusal Mendis, were sent home early after they left the team’s bio-secure hotel for a night out in Durham ahead of the first One-day International against England at Chester-le-Street.

Official sources said Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will investigate reports that Flower also breached the Covid-19 restrictions.

“An inquiry will be held after he [Flower] recovers fully,” a board source said. “There are allegations that he also breached the bio-secure bubble.”

Media reports said SLC was also unhappy with the performance of Flower, a former Zimbabwe Test batsman who is under contract until the end of the year.

Sri Lanka are eighth in the Test team rankings and ninth in one-day formats and team morale is reportedly low. The players have been at loggerheads with the board over new performance-linked contracts.

The board has brought in local coach Dhammika Sudarshana as a temporary replacement for Flower for three one-day games and three Twenty20 Internationals against India starting on Sunday.

The India matches were delayed by five days to July 18 following positive tests by Flower and a team’s data analyst.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2021

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