West Indies will tour England this summer but only if 100 per cent safe, says Johnny Grave

West Indies’ player safety will not be compromised this summer, despite the lure of playing England, says WICB chief executive Johnny Grave.

The teams were due to contest a three-Test series from June but that has now been put back until at least July – and may have to be played behind closed doors at bio-secure venues – due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Grave told The Cricket Show that West Indies would want a minimum of four weeks in the UK to prepare for the first Test – two of which could be in quarantine if the squad was based at a place where it could train – but that first he’d need to be 100 per cent sure that travelling to England didn’t put any player at unnecessary risk.

“We’ve had, as you can imagine, lots of conversations individually and – as of the start of this month – we started really a much wider discussion with the ECB over what a tour might look like,” said Grave, talking from lockdown in Antigua.

“Certainly, from our point of view, it’s really just listening to those ECB plans both from Steve Elworthy, from a logistics and venue point of view, and professor Nick Peirce from a medical point of view.

“So, we’re in good dialogue with the ECB and ultimately we’re waiting to hear from them and clearly they need to get UK Government approval before we can seriously contemplate a tour to the UK.”

While the United Kingdom’s death toll from COVID-19 now tops 40,000 – the worst in Europe and the second in the world behind the United States – the story is very different in the Caribbean, where the figure is reported to be below 100.

Grave said such a stark contrast would naturally make players think twice about travelling.

“I think you’re right in terms of global news – there are relatively few cases here in the Caribbean, therefore, we’re all relatively safe from a coronavirus point of view,” he said.

“Just in terms of sheer numbers of deaths in the UK, obviously over 30,000 people is an enormous number but in population terms here in the Caribbean for people who are based and who have lived most of their lives on the smaller islands, you are talking about 40-50 per cent of the total populations.

“It is a very different mindset here in terms of going to what is seen as one of the eyes of the storm of this virus.

“So we’re going to have to be very, very careful that first up we take the medical advice that the ECB give us and secondly that we’re 100 per cent sure that we’re not putting any player’s health at risk before we can contemplate the tour taking place.”

While the ECB faces a range of complex logistical challenges relating to venue safety, including on-site testing of players and staff, one of the first difficulties facing the WICB is how to get their players to England.

Source: Read Full Article