The ongoing novel COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic has pressed the pause button in international cricket. However, the Cricket West Indies (CWI) CEO Johnny Grave is very much confident about the upcoming West Indies tour of England.
According to the FTP schedule, West Indies will tour in England in the 2020 summer for the three-match Test series. This Test series will also be the part of the 2019-21 ICC World Test Championship.
According to the initial schedule, they would play this Test series between 4th and 29th June 2020. But the coronavirus has forced to postpone this tour.
Johnny Grave is confident about the fate of the upcoming West Indies tour of England as he has claimed that they are in the final process of planning of this series. While the West Indies players are likely to leave the Caribbean in early June, the Test series is likely to be played in July.
Grave told ESPNcricinfo, “We are in the final stages of discussions with the ECB and they are in the final stages of finalising their plans in order to get the UK government and ECB board support. We are expecting to get a formal offer to tour England probably by the end of the month so that we can get our board’s approval and the players can potentially leave the region [the Caribbean] in early June.”
According to Grave, the Test series between England and West Indies will begin on 8th July and they want four weeks for preparation.
Grave added, “We want four weeks before the first Test to prepare our team so we are currently planning on leaving the week starting June 8.”
While originally Kia Oval (London), Edgbaston (Birmingham) and Lord’s (London) would host the Test matches against West Indies in this England summer, these Test matches are likely to be shifted to Ageas Bowl (Southampton) and Emirates Old Trafford (Manchester).
Probable fixtures (according to the ESPNcricinfo interview with Johnny Grave) for the West Indies tour of England 2020
|8-12 July 2020||1st Test||Ageas Bowl (Southampton)|
|16-20 July 2020||2nd Test||Emirates Old Trafford (Manchester)|
|24-28 July 2020||3rd Test||Emirates Old Trafford (Manchester)|
The working plan involves taking a 25-player squad to the UK: CWI CEO
Johnny Grave has also revealed that they are likely to send a 25-member squad, 15-member official Test squad and 10-member reserve squad, in the forthcoming England tour.
He said, “The working plan involves taking a 25-player squad to the UK. That would comprise the official Test squad of 15 players and 10 reserves.”
Grave has also added that if any player tests positive in coronavirus at any stage of the UK tour, he will be removed immediately from the main squad and treated properly. They are also talking with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to allow a replacement player, similar to a concussion substitute, in the case of any positive test report during a Test match.