Sunday 7 June, 2020

Coronavirus: West Indies offer to host England Test series

West Indies could host this summer's three-Test series against England in the Caribbean should the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic prevent it from taking place in the United Kingdom.

The teams are scheduled to play three Tests in England with the first due to start at The Kia Oval on June 4. However, with May and June the projected peak months for Covid-19 in the United Kingdom, the original scheduling looks unlikely.

ESPNcricinfo is reporting that the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket West Indies (CWI) have held several discussions in recent days.

ESPNcricinfo said the options under consideration include the possibility of rescheduling the series - with September the most obvious time - or staging it in the Caribbean. 

While there are Covid-19 cases in the Caribbean, the virus would appear, at this stage, to have taken hold far more in the United Kingdom. Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia, the islands that hosted last year’s series, have recorded just five coronavirus cases to date. Jamaica has a total of 15 confirmed cases with one death.

Johnny Grave, the CWI chief executive, told ESPNCricinfo: “I’ve spoken to [ECB chief executive] Tom Harrison a couple of times in the last few days and assured him that we will be as flexible, supportive and helpful as possible. To that end, yes, we have offered to host the series here in the Caribbean if that is deemed helpful. The ECB would retain all commercial and broadcast rights.

“This is not about us trying to take advantage of the situation. It’s about the cricket community working together at a difficult time for everyone and, one of the many great things about the Caribbean is, we can play cricket all year round.

“There has long been a special relationship between the cricket communities in the Caribbean and England and we wanted to make it clear we will do everything we can to help.”

The Caribbean side also has other commitments later in the year. West Indies are scheduled to host New Zealand in three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and three T20 Internationals between July 8 and July 19 before South Africa arrive for two Tests and five T20 Internationals between July 23 and August 16.

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