New Zealand health authorities revoke West Indies players’ training privileges after catching them socialising and sharing meals.
The touring West Indies cricket squad will be banned from training and confined to hotel rooms after committing multiple breaches of New Zealand quarantine rules. The situation has arisen because players from the two separate bubbles of 20 people, which are allowed to train separately, have mixed. This “compromised the bubble integrity of the quarantine facility.”
“Following an investigation, members of the (West Indies) team were confirmed to have repeatedly broken managed isolation rules. Many of these incidents have been captured on CCTV and have also been reported by staff. The incidents include groups mingling and sharing food. It’s important to note that all incidents occurred within the hotel facility and there is no risk to the public,” the ministry of health said on Wednesday.
A New Zealand Cricket statement said: “NZC was yesterday made aware that some members of the West Indies team had contravened protocols within the Managed Isolation Facility in Christchurch.
“These incidents included some players compromising bubble integrity by sharing food, and socialising in hallways. There is no evidence, or suggestion, that any members of the touring party left the facility, or that any unauthorised persons accessed it.
“NZC is supportive of the Ministry of Health and Government position. Public health and safety has always been our primary focus in hosting overseas teams and this remains our No.1 priority.
“NZC will continue working with the West Indies team and management, and relevant Government agencies, to ensure there is no repeat of these violations.”
Having been made aware of the breach, Johnny Grave, Cricket West Indies CEO said that they are investigating the incident, “We are extremely disappointed that some of the players seem to have interacted with other members of their respective bubbles,” said Grave. “We are in full sport of the action taken by the New Zealand Ministry of Health.
With the West Indies having successfully completed international cricket’s first “bubble” tour when they visited England in July, Grave says the players should have known how to deal with the demands of isolation.
“My disappointment is mainly the fact that our players are the most experienced in the world in dealing with quarantine measures.
“Here – because of the fact that the New Zealand Government has done such a good job with Covid – the carrot was for players to go through a normal tour.”
While understanding of the challenging living conditions for the players, Grave still expected better.
“I’m disappointed that they would let themselves down and the team down. And potentially put the tour at risk and the New Zealand public at risk.
“I am sympathetic, but at the same time I am bitterly disappointed.”
The good news for the players is they won’t be confined for long; Friday is the end to their 14-day mandatory isolation, meaning they will be tested today and released before the weekend if no issues arise.
The West Indies play New Zealand in the first of three T20s on November 27.
Featured Image: Twitter/Windies Cricket