There’s finally some international cricket in the near future. West Indies are going to play England in a three-match Test series, starting on the 8th of July. International cricket has been suspended since the second week of March due to the corona-virus pandemic.
With the situation improving in the United Kingdom (UK), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced a three-match Test series against West Indies which was originally scheduled to start on the 4th of June. All three matches will be played behind closed doors and in ‘bio-secure environments’. Southampton and Manchester are the two venues which will host the three Test matches. The Ageas Bowl in Southampton hosts the first Test from July 8th while the Old Trafford in Manchester will see the last two Test matches begin on 16th and 24th July respectively.
The West Indies team flew out of the Caribbean islands on Monday and were expected to arrive in Manchester on Tuesday. There were a couple of planes that received players from all over the Caribbean and brought them to Antigua where a private charter flight was waiting for the entire touring party. Every member boarding the charter flight tested COVID-19 negative.
In a statement released on Monday (June 8th), West Indies cricket board revealed that the players and the staff will undergo a 14-day quarantine and will be tested again for COVID-19. They will be staying at the Old Trafford which has a hotel attached and will be allowed to train even during quarantine. However, the protocols restrict movement of the players in and out of the bio-secure venues.
West Indies named a 14-man squad led by Jason Holder for the three Test matches. There were 11 additional players named as reserves who will help the main squad prepare for the upcoming series. Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul pulled out due to family concerns.
But West Indies Test skipper Jason Holder was positive about this series and deemed it as a huge step in reviving cricket. “This is a huge step forward in cricket and in sports in general as we travel over to England for this series. A lot has gone into the preparations for what will be a new phase in the game,” Holder was quoted saying.