West Indies Test captain and One-Day International skipper, Kieron Pollard are among 10 players who have pulled out of this month’s tour of Bangladesh over COVID-19 related concerns.
The West Indies selectors were forced to name a depleted squad for the tour of the Jan. 20 – Feb. 15 series in the South Asian country.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) said the10 players had declined due to “COVID-19 concerns or related fears” ahead of the ODI and Test match tournament.
Up to a week ago Bangladesh had reported 510,080 confirmed cases of COVID-19 along with 7,479 deaths.
Along with Holder and Pollard, are Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hytmyer and Nicholas Pooran who have also opted out of the tour, while CWI said left-arm spinner Fabien Allen and Test wicketkeeper, Shane Dowrich were “unavailable due to personal reasons.”
In Holder’s absence, experienced Kraigg Brathwaite will now lead the Test side in the two-match series, while Trinidadian Jason Mohammed will take charge of the One-Day International for the three-match rubber. Mohammed last played for the West Indies in 2 ½ years.
Despite the high profile exodus of players for the tour, chief selector Roger Harper told an online media conference that he believed conditions remained safe for players.
CWI had given the green light for the tour following an assessment tour of Bangladesh in November by a team, which included Dr. Akshai Mansingh and security officials to see what the risk would be and make recommendations to ensure the safety of the players.
On Dr. Mansingh’s recommendation, CWI announced last month it had agreed to the tour- the third for the West Indies amid the global pandemic.
The squad, which includes several uncapped players, is due to arrive in Bangladesh on Jan. 10.