St John's (Antigua), June 9: With the sporting events are returning to the field again including cricket, the West Indies cricket team is also ready to kick-start the cricket amid the coronavirus pandemic. The team departed from Antigua for the tour of England in order to play three test matches against England without spectators. The West Indies Tour of England is the first cricket event to be played after all the cricket activities came to halt due to the pandemic.
The entire team including the staff who went through the coronavirus tests resulted in negative. Earlier on Monday, two planes were arranged for the players to pick them up from various islands in the West Indies. Thereafter, they gathered for a private charter which is due to arrive in Manchester on Tuesday morning.
West Indies Cricket said, "on arrival at Old Trafford in Manchester, the entire touring party will be quarantined and tested again for COVID-19 as they begin the seven-week tour where they will live, train and play in a bio-secure environment,"
Though these protocols will restrict movements, substitute players will travel to train and assist to prepare the test squad for ensuring replacements are available in case of injury. There will be no spectators allowed at the three tests that will begin over just 21 days starting July 8 in Southampton and at Old Trafford from July 16-20 and again from July 24-28.
The venues were chosen because they had hotels attached or nearby and could be turned into bio-secure environments. Earlier, the tour was scheduled for May and June but was postponed due to the pandemic leading to the lockdown restrictions.
“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. I’m happy for the support and well-wishes we have been receiving from our loyal and dedicated fans once it was confirmed the tour would go-ahead. This has been a source of great inspiration,” said captain Jason Holder.
“We have a fantastic group of cricketers, coaches, medical staff and support staff and I know everyone is eagerly looking forward to the start of the first match when we can get back on the field of play. There is expectation in the air that we will defend the Wisden Trophy and we will certainly put in the work and give it our all to keep hold of it.”
West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer and Kemar Roach.
Reserve Players: Sunil Ambris, Joshua DaSilva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas and Jomel Warrican.