The cricketing world finally has some good news to share with the world. The England Cricket Board (ECB) announced recently that the West Indies are scheduled to tour England for a three-match Test series starting July 8, subject to government clearance.
The Ageas Bowl in Southampton is set to host the first Test, while the second and the third Test will be hosted in Manchester, Old Trafford on July 16 and July 24, respectively. All three Test matches will be held behind closed doors with players staying at on-site hotels in a bio-secure environment.
The away team will arrive at the United Kingdom on June 9 and will straightaway move to Old Trafford, Manchester for a three-week quarantine period alongside training at those facilities. The team then will move to the Ageas Bowl for the final stages of preparation before the first Test starts.
However, West Indies will be without their star trio – Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul, who have all pulled out of the tour due to safety concerns. Following this, Cricket West Indies (CWI) has said that they fully respect the players’ decision and will not hold this against them in the future. Nkrumah Bonner, Chemar Holder and Jermaine Blackwood have been named as replacements and will join the 25-man squad travelling to England.
In May, the ICC’s Cricket Committee came up with guidelines to be followed in cricket in the post-COVID era, with one such recommendation being that if any player tests positive, then everyone involved in the match has to go under quarantine. However, the ECB was more optimistic that individuals displaying symptoms could be dealt with in a less disruptive manner, under the guidance of an on-site medical team prepared specifically for such eventualities. Hence, they have suggested having substitutions for COVID-19. This topic is still being debated and is yet to get a green light from the International Cricket Council.
The ECB has been working for quite some time on its proposals to create a ‘bio-secure environment’ to play international cricket in, with constant consultation with the government. They are hoping to host Ireland, Pakistan and Australia, who were scheduled to play later in the summer, soon after West Indies. Let’s hope all of this pans out smoothly and cricket adjusts quickly to the new normal.
West Indies squad to tour England: Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Jason Holder (Captain), Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach
Reserve players: Sunil Ambris, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shane Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican
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