Cricket: England players taking no chances with Sir Lankan coronavirus risk

England cricketers won't shake hands on the tour to Sri Lanka, says captain Joe Root... they'll be fist-bumping instead.

The Yorkshire batsman addressed the issue of the coronavirus on Monday, as the team prepared to leave for their two-test tour.

The threat of illness is a sensitive issue for England, who were hit by a series of gastroenteritis and flu problems before and during the first test on their recent tour of South Africa.

"After the illnesses that swept through the squad in South Africa, we are well aware of the importance of keeping contact to a minimum," Root said. "We've been given some really sound and sensible advice from our medical team to help prevent spreading germs and bacteria. 

"We are not shaking hands with each other, using instead the well-established fist bump, and we are washing hands regularly and wiping down surfaces using the anti-bacterial wipes and gels we've been given in our immunity packs.

"There is no suggestion that the tour will be affected, but of course, it is an evolving situation, so we are in regular contact with the authorities and will proceed as advised.

"At this stage, we fully expect the tour to continue as planned."

England won 3-0 in Sri Lanka two years ago, but Root anticipates a tougher challenge this time.

"The conditions will be a bit different with the time of year we are going this time," he said. "The three games we played out there last time were all very close, with less than 60 runs between the teams in the last two tests.

"It was an exceptional performance last time and I think we can take a lot of confidence from that in terms of how to play out there.

"We respect how good a side they are in their own conditions and we'll find ourselves up against a stiff challenge.