West Indies tour of England in the balance over COVID-19

CWI; Cricket Canada to strengthen ties
CWI CEO, Johnny Grave.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) says it will continue to liaise with its counterparts, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), over the upcoming Test tour of England as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the United Kingdom’s sporting calendar.

West Indies is scheduled to tour England for Tests at the Oval and Lord’s in London and Edgbaston in Birmingham. All three fixtures are scheduled for the month of June when the UK government expects the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to be at its peak.

The virus has resulted in more than 1,150 UK infections and 24 deaths and has already forced the suspension of major fixtures like the English Premier League and the London Marathon.

Further, the ECB recently recalled its side from the tour of Sri Lanka where they were scheduled to play two Tests later this month.

West Indies Chief Executive Officer, Johnny Grave said last week the regional governing body would continue to monitor developments regarding the virus.

“It is (still on) at the moment but it’s a dynamic situation that is changing quite literally by the hour so at the moment there’s no announcement by the ECB about postponing any of their upcoming events,” Grave said.

He noted that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has canceled the World Cup qualifiers which were due to take place in Malaysia and several of the country clubs have canceled their pre-season tours.

“At the moment it seems like they (ECB) are taking a sort of four-week period where some events have been postponed or canceled until mid-April.

“Our players are due to travel at the end of April so at the moment…it is being closely monitored but at the moment we’ve had not reason to believe the England tour will be canceled,” Grave added.

West Indies is scheduled to undergo a camp in England before playing two matches against England Lions and Worcestershire at the end of May. The team faces England in the opening Test at Lord’s starting June 4 and the final Test bowling off on June 25.

Globally, cricket has already suffered disruption, with the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) delaying its start from March 29 until April 15 as a “precautionary measure.”