West Indian cricketers arrive for 3-test tour of England
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — The West Indies arrived in England on Tuesday for a three-test cricket tour, with the entire Caribbean-based touring party having returned negative tests to COVID-19 before departing from Antigua.
Two planes collected players from various islands in the West Indies on Monday, and they boarded a private charter to Manchester.
On arrival at Old Trafford in Manchester, the 39-strong touring party — including 14 squad players and 11 reserves — will be quarantined and tested again for COVID-19 as they begin the seven-week tour. They will live, train and play at the ground in what England officials describe as a “bio-secure environment.”
“This is a huge step forward in cricket and in sports in general as we travel over to England for this series,” West Indies captain Jason Holder said at home. “A lot has gone into the preparations for what will be a new phase in the game.”
The protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, so the reserve players have traveled to help prepare the test squad and ensure replacements are available in case of injury.
There will be no spectators allowed at the three tests which are being played over just 21 days — starting July 8 in Southampton and at Old Trafford on July 16 and 24.
The venues were chosen because they had hotels attached or nearby.
The original tour was scheduled for May and June but was postponed due to coronavirus restrictions.
“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,” Holder said. “This has been a source of great inspiration.”