England will play three Tests against the West Indies in July, subject to UK government clearance to return behind closed doors, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement on Tuesday. England’s three-Test series against West Indies will begin on July 8 at the Ageas Bowl, followed by two Tests at Old Trafford on July 16 July July 24.
“The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has today announced that Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl and Lancashire’s Emirates Old Trafford will host England Men’s Test series against West Indies if international cricket returns behind closed doors in July,” the statement on ECB’s official website said.
“The West Indies squad will arrive in the UK on Tuesday 9 June, travelling to Emirates Old Trafford for quarantining and training. This will be their base for a three-week period before moving to the Ageas Bowl for the start of the first Test,” it added.
The two venues were selected because they are deemed to be bio-secure because of on-site hotels. The criteria comprised of:
Biosecurity: Venue perimeter, access and access control; Hotel accommodation (onsite or nearby).
Medical screening/testing provision: Designated areas for isolation of anyone presenting symptoms; Car parking requirements (approx. 200); Medical Screening and Testing sites (approx. 1500 m2).
Footprint to enable social distancing: Extendable Players and Match Official areas; Extendable space for broadcast compounds, studios and written media.
Venue/Cricket operations: The number and suitability of TV pitches; Provision for warm-up matches; Indoor and outdoor practice facilities.
“The Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford will receive an administration fee for staging the Test series and all additional central costs will be met by the ECB,” the statement detailed.
“The HVP also confirmed that Edgbaston was selected as a contingency venue and will be used to stage additional training throughout July.”
ECB Director of Events, Steve Elworthy — who is leading on English cricket’s bio-secure operational plans — added: “Our main objective is to deliver a safe environment for all stakeholders including players, match officials, operational staff, essential venue staff, broadcasters and media.
“We are in daily dialogue with government and our medical team, who have been incredibly supportive during this period. These are our proposed dates and they remain subject to UK Government approval.
“We would like to thank Cricket West Indies for their co-operation and dedication in making this tour a reality, and we all look forward to the prospect of cricket returning in the coming weeks.”
Ticket purchasers for the original England v West Indies Test series will be entitled to a refund.
First Test England v West Indies: 8-12 July at Ageas Bowl; Second Test England v West Indies: 16-20 July at Old Trafford; Third Test England v West Indies: 24-28 July at Old Trafford.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought the entire world to a standstill and the sporting arena is no exception. Most of the high profile tournaments including the Tokyo Olympics 2020 stand postponed.
Even the biggest cricketing spectacle on the planet, the Indian Premier League (IPL), stands suspended indefinitely owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Recently, Bundesliga became the first high-profile sporting event to resume after a 65 day period with almost no sporting activity.
The move to restart sporting leagues and tournaments come after governments are beginning to realise that the coronavirus is here to stay for quite some time and sports among other businesses will need to find a way to co-exist with it.
The virus has already infected more than 6 million people around the world while claiming over 3.6 lakh lives. There is still no sure shot treatment of the disease and social-distancing, self-isolation and maintenance of basic hand hygiene remain the only potent weapons of protecting oneself from contracting the infection.
(With inputs from IANS)