The Windies players, after weeks of being under the starters’ order, the gates are now opened — and they are off!
Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) selection panel has named a fourteen (14) man Test squad and list of eleven (11) reserves for the proposed Sandals Tour of England 2020.
The West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy in three back-to-back Test matches to be played behind closed doors, starting on July 8.
The touring party, who will all be tested for COVID-19 this week, are scheduled to fly to England on private charters on June 8.
However, there are misgivings on whether the Windies should have agreed to the tour. This apprehension comes against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic that is creating havoc around the world, and with England dubbed as one of the hotspot countries.
In fact, three players, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, and Keemo Paul, have declined the offer to be part of the touring team because of the health risks involved.
The question, of course, for the players was to go are not to go, ultimately one will see whether it was the right decision for the players to have gone.
At the same time, the Cricket Board made it clear that the players had the right to opt-out without any foreseen consequences — in neither the letter nor spirit.
Meanwhile, regional cricket commentator Barry Wilkinson while speaking on popular Jamaica radio station Hitz 92 FM’s Sports, described the tour as “ice cream without sugar.” He said the tour is “strictly about money” and labeled the arrangement and preparation for the tour as ‘tacky.’
He also argued that the preparation phase could see the Windies losing the Wisden Trophy, which they reclaimed in January 2019.
Wilkinson asserted that there could be huge ramifications for the Board if there is a breakout of COVID-19 among players. He said the tour would have to be called off, and the CEO, President, and the entire Board would have to resign.
That said, Windies players, however, have always been the gladiators in world cricket, and other countries had always looked to them for leadership, for example, when other players were fearful of going to play in Pakistan – the Windies players stepped up!
In the meantime, CWI’s CEO Johnny Grave has sought to reassure the regional cricket community that all precautions have been put in place by host England to ensure the safety of the Caribbean players on the upcoming tour.
Barbara Green, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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