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Thursday, July 9, 2020

West Indies players very nervous about England tour

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The West Indies beat England 2-1 in the most recent series of team tests in early 2019

Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave says this summer’s England tour will continue, but says his players will be “very nervous” about traveling.

The series of three tests, which is due to start on June 4, has been postponed until July at least because of the coronavirus.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is studying the use of biosecurity sites and quarantined players.

“There will be no forced players on this tour,” said Grave.

“If you grow up in a country where the population can only be 60,000 or 70,000 people, think that the UK has had more than 30,000 dead is a massive figure. “

When asked if he could see the tests in progress, he responded to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Tuffers and Vaughan: “I think I can. We are right to be optimistic.”

But he added: “We must be absolutely clear that it is safe above all.

“The ECB has a long way to go before it gets approval from the UK government to be absolutely certain that bio-secure cricket will work.”

Grave said the Cricket West Indies board had contacted a “large pool of players” about the prospect of a trip to England.

The games would likely be played without fans and could be hosted in a place where players can stay put – like Old Trafford and Southampton – and be tested regularly for coronavirus.

“The players would be nice in a bubble,” said Graves.

“We have told the ECB that we would like four weeks of preparation before the first test. We are probably considering three consecutive games.”

“It would be seven weeks of intensive field training, staying on the ground and being very isolated in this hotel environment.”

The West Indies are made up of 15 countries and territories that are subject to different levels of restrictions due to the pandemic, and Grave said that getting players on one plane would be “a logistical challenge but certainly not insurmountable”.

“I really worry about the players”

England are also set to face Pakistan, Australia and Ireland this summer, matches the ECB hopes to condense in the final stages of the season.

This could mean that players spend several weeks together without being able to leave the field.

Former English captain Michael Vaughan said it would be a “huge mental challenge”.

“If you have 30 players who will potentially have to be locked up in their country, on cricket sites, I’m really worried,” he said.

“When you’re in the UK, you’re so used to playing the game, then getting into your car and going back to your family right after the game.

“This is an unprecedented period. It has to be done because we need television money for the match, but I worry about the players.”

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