English fast bowler praises Windies

South Africa v England – Second Test
England’s James Anderson celebrates the wicket of South Africa’s Keshav Maharaj.
REUTERS / Mike Hutchings

England fast bowler James Anderson has given credit to the West Indies team for taking the “scary decision” to go ahead with the three-match Test tour amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has so far claimed more than 41,000 lives in the UK.

The regional team arrived in Manchester two weeks ago ahead of the historic three Test series, which will be played in a “bio-secure” environment and will be the first series to be played since the pandemic put sports across the world on hold about four months ago.

“ I think it’s great for the game, brilliant that we’re closing in on getting some Test cricket played after a decent lay-off,” said Anderson during a conference call with the media.

“Certainly, from our point of view, we’re very grateful the West Indies are coming over here. I can imagine. A scary decision for a lot of them, for all of them, to make the journey over, so we’re grateful,” he said.

A Jason Holder-captained 25-man squad, including 11 reserves, is in Old Trafford, Manchester, where they will be quarantined for two weeks, during which time they will continue to train in a bid to defend the converted Wisden Trophy which they won in the Caribbean last year.

The tour will be historic not only for the circumstances under which it is being held. It is the first series in which players will have to abide by an International Cricket Council (ICC) ban on the use of spit to shine the ball. Sweat, however, will still be allowed under the interim regulation changes that have been implemented to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease.

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