At long last, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have announced the venues for the 3 Test match series against the West Indies, thereby confirming that the tour will very much go according to plan.
As expected, all three Test matches will be played behind closed doors. The first Test match will be played at the Ageas Bowl at Southampton, Hampshire from the 8th of July, while the remaining two Tests will be played at Old Trafford, Manchester, Lancashire, starting from the 16th of July and the 24th of July respectively.
Edgbaston has been selected as a contingency venue and will be used to stage additional training through July.
The West Indies Cricketers will have to undergo a two week period of quarantine upon arrival at the UK on the 9th of June. They will be accommodated at Old Trafford and will train at the venue for three weeks.
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ECB had asked for an expression of interest from the venues and the choices were made after the two grounds demonstrated key principles: bio-security, medical screening/testing provision, footprint to enable social distancing and venue/cricket operations, to create a bio-secure environment.
Steve Elworthy, former South African Cricketer and currently the director of events of the ECB, said, “Our main objective is to deliver a safe environment for all stakeholders including players, match officials, operational staff, essential venue staff, broadcasters and media. We are in daily dialogue with Government and our medical team, who have been incredibly supportive during this period. These are our proposed dates and they remain subject to UK Government approval.”
He expressed his gratitude towards England’s first opponents this Cricketing season by saying, “We would like to thank Cricket West Indies for their co-operation and dedication in making this tour a reality, and we all look forward to the prospect of cricket returning in the coming weeks.”
The tour was originally scheduled to start on June 4, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the ECB to change their plans. The board has confirmed the Kia Oval and Lord’s will be able to keep their ticketing revenues and will also be reimbursed the staging fees.