Cricket West Indies (CWI) has agreed to the Test tour of England "in principle", with players and staff to remain "in a bio-secure environment" for the duration of the series.

The Windies had originally been due to face England in three Tests, at The Oval, Edgbaston and Lord's, but that series – originally slated to begin next week – was postponed in April amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, CWI and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have been in discussions about the tour taking place in July at Old Trafford and the Rose Bowl, which have hotels attached to the stadiums.

That would ensure the travelling party can remain at the same location where Tests would be played behind closed doors.

A statement from CWI said: "CWI's management is now in the process of seeking to put all of the approvals and logistics in place within the Caribbean, including seeking permission from the various national governments to facilitate the movement of players and support staff, using private charter planes and conducting medical screenings and individual COVID-19 testing for all members of the touring party."

It has been proposed that the West Indies squad would fly to England in the week beginning June 8, a full month before the opening Test.

On Friday, England named a 55-man squad which will commence group training sessions, subject to government approval.

Grant Flower expects Pakistan run machine Babar Azam to "break a lot of records" but fears there is a danger he could regret taking over as captain.

Babar is the top-ranked Twenty20 international batsman in the world and has established himself as one of the best players on the planet in all formats.

The 25-year-old was named T20I skipper last October and also took the ODI captaincy this month.

Flower recognised the elegant right-hander was a special talent when he first started working with him as Pakistan batting coach and believes he is destined for greatness.

He told Stats Perform News: "Babar is brilliant.

"The first time I saw him play and first time I worked with him - when I threw balls at him at the academy in Lahore - he picked up length so much quicker than the rest of the players and I think that's the hallmark of a great batsman.

"If you look at some of the best players in the world like Steve Smith, Virat Kohli et cetera, they pick up length really quickly and play the ball late, have a great eye and hand-eye coordination. He has that and I think he is going to break a lot of records.

"Even in T20 cricket he plays normal cricket shots and that is also the sign of a great player. As long as he stays humble, which I'm sure he will as he's a good bloke, there is no reason why he can't be one of the best and he already pretty much is."

Sri Lanka batting coach Flower hopes Babar thrives as a leader but fears his form could suffer due to the extra pressure on his shoulders.

The former Zimbabwe all-rounder said: "He's got a good cricketing brain but there's a lot of politics in Pakistan cricket and a lot of pressure from the public.

"If you start losing, it's one thing being the best batsman but that will put pressure on your batting skills and it can all come tumbling down pretty quickly.

"We've seen with great players in the past the pressures that captaincy can bring, but some players get better and if he gets better then the world is his oyster. Time will tell.

"But he seems pretty positive about it, I read what he said in an interview when he got the captaincy. I wish him all the best and hopefully all positives come with that."

 

- Grant Flower was speaking on behalf of The Conservation Games, a first-of-its-kind initiative from the Zambesia Conservation Alliance. To watch Grant in action, visit and subscribe to the Conservation Games channel on YouTube.

England have named 14 uncapped players among a 55-man squad to join up for England group training. 

Will Jacks, Dan Lawrence, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Henry Brookes are among those selected yet to feature at international level, but there is no place for experienced duo Alex Hales or Liam Plunkett. 

David Willey, Ben Duckett and Dawid Malan, however, will be hoping to make a return for England after they were asked to report for sessions that will go ahead subject to government approval. 

Bowlers were able to begin individual training last week for the first time since they were forced into lockdown due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

There has been no confirmation of when England will play next, but a large training group was announced on Friday ahead of a proposed Test series with West Indies on home soil, as well as one-day games against Ireland.

England and Wales Cricket Board performance director Mo Bobat said: "It's really pleasing to be in a position to have players returning to training and a huge amount of work has been done by many to get us this far. 

"The pool of players will give selectors strong options when it comes to selecting squads across formats further down the line, as we move closer to our aim of playing international cricket this summer. 

"We will need to continue to work closely with our medical team and government to ensure that our return to training and play activities are in line with best-practice guidelines. 

"We're also really grateful for the positive and collaborative response from our county colleagues who are doing a great job at facilitating coaching and support for the players. The fact that we can call on our network to support the national effort shows the strength of our system." 

 

England training group: Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Dom Bess, Sam Billings, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Henry Brookes, Pat Brown, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Brydon Carse, Mason Crane, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Joe Denly, Ben Duckett, Laurie Evans, Ben Foakes, Richard Gleeson, Lewis Gregory, Sam Hain, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Keaton Jennings, Chris Jordan, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Matt Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Adil Rashid, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, James Vince, Amar Virdi, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Cricket Australia (CA) is braced for a huge financial hit due to the possible postponement of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup, as well as playing home games without spectators. 

Speaking to the media on Friday, CA chief executive Kevin Roberts predicted the governing body stands to miss out on 80million Australian dollars due to the potential changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Admitting there is a “very high risk” of the global T20 tournament being pushed back from the original plan of October and November this year, Roberts outlined the expected missed income due to such a delay. 

However, the bigger blow is a home summer without any fans present at international fixtures, while there is also the extra cost of the biosecurity measures required to host opposing teams. 

"The likelihood of significant crowds is very slim - ordinarily that would deliver well over $50m revenue to CA," Roberts told reporters. 

"The T20 World Cup is a big question and that's a factor of perhaps $20m. We have been hopeful all along that it could be staged in October-November, but you would have to say there's a very high risk about the prospect of that happening. 

"And it's likely that our biosecurity measures that we need to put in place to deliver the season will cost in the order of $10m." 

Australia are due to host Zimbabwe in one-day internationals in August, then West Indies arrive for T20 games in October. As for Tests, Afghanistan are due to play one in Perth in November, followed by a four-match series against India, who complete their tour with three ODIs in January. 

New Zealand are the final visitors of a packed schedule, making the short trip for three one-dayers and a one-off T20 early next year. 

On the recently released schedule, Roberts remained cautiously optimistic, adding: “We're very optimistic that we will be able to stage the India men's tour and the other inbound tours for the season. 

"But we're realistic enough to know they will look very different to a normal summer. We have been forced to effectively plan for the worst and hope for the best." 

WACA chief executive Christian Matthews and chairman Terry Waldron have vented their frustrations after Cricket Australia (CA) decided against using Perth as a venue for a planned Test series against India.

Cricket across the globe is currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, though a schedule for Australia has been drawn up for later in the year.

After facing Zimbabwe in a three-match ODI series at venues yet to be determined, Australia will play three Twenty20s against both West Indies and India.

Perth Stadium will then host a one-off Test against Afghanistan in November, with a four-Test series against India – along with three ODIs – scheduled for December.

However, the Perth venue has not been selected to host any of the Tests, with Brisbane preferred, a decision which has left WACA's top officials bemused.

"This is the second time we haven't had India scheduled, the last time we were told it was because our venue wasn't good enough and if we supported a new stadium, this would never happen again, and here we are again," CEO Matthews told reporters.

"I want to make it clear, hosting a Test is a privilege, not a right and we understand that, and we're as privileged to host Afghanistan as anyone else and we'll certainly put on a really good show and welcome Afghanistan to the Test arena in Australia.

"But suffice to say, not having India tour here for the second time in six years is very disappointing for us, for our members, for our fans, and I daresay for the government who has put in a lot of time and effort into creating a stadium that has been recognised around the world as the most beautiful stadium in the world and in fact, was rated as the second-best cricket ground in Australia in a survey.

"So we've been a little bit bemused and disappointed how we haven't been scheduled for one of the prime series in the cricket calendar."

WACA chairman Waldrom added: "I actually think it's the wrong decision, we made a really compelling case, along with the government to CA, I looked at that again this morning, and when I went through it, I just can't understand why they'd make that decision.

"I do understand it's difficult for CA, they have to make the call and we will now pick up the cudgels and we'll get on with it. Afghanistan are an exciting, emerging team.

"But I am disappointed and I actually think it is a kick in the guts to WA, to all our cricket-loving people in WA and to our WACA members.

"When you've got one of the best stadiums in the world and when you've got the second-best cricket venue, the time slot back to India for TV, to me it's a no brainer.

"I understand it's a tough decision for CA, good luck to Queensland and we wish them all the best. We'll keep putting the pressure on because we've got a responsibility to cricket in WA, to cricket supporters, to fans and to our members."

Cricket Australia (CA) has released a full international schedule for 2020-21, with the four-Test series against India to begin at the Gabba on December 3.

CA revealed the fixtures for Australia's men's and women's teams on Thursday and the schedule is packed despite fears that matches may have to be cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The men's team, who have not played since March when a one-day international series against New Zealand was cancelled after just one game, are due to first face Zimbabwe in three ODIs, beginning on August 9 at a venue yet to be determined.

After playing three T20s against West Indies and then India, Australia will host Afghanistan in a one-off Test in Perth that starts on November 21 before taking on Virat Kohli's team again in four Tests and three ODIs.

Their home season will conclude with a four-match ODI series against New Zealand in January and February.

The Australia women's team are set to return to action in September with a T20 series against New Zealand, who they will then meet in three ODIs prior to another series in that format against India in January.

The headline series for the men's team is undoubtedly the four-Test dual with Kohli's India, which will take place in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

In announcing the fixtures, CA CEO Kevin Roberts conceded the final schedule may have to be tweaked depending on the spread of the coronavirus over the coming weeks and months.

"While acknowledging the difficulty in navigating a global pandemic, we are nonetheless encouraged by the progress Australia is making in combatting the coronavirus and the positive impact that is having on our ability to host an exciting summer of cricket in 2020-21," Roberts said.

"We know that circumstances or events beyond our control could mean that the final schedule potentially may look different to the one released today, but we'll be doing everything we can to get as much international cricket in as possible this summer. We will communicate any changes to the schedule if or when they are required. 

"We are engaged in ongoing discussions with federal and state governments, our venues and the touring nations to continually understand and monitor the situation in front of us, which is evolving every day. We'll continue to act in accordance with public health advice and government protocols to ensure the safety of the public, players and support staff."

India won the most recent Test series in Australia in 2018-19, the first time they had emerged victorious in that format Down Under.

Grant Flower believes Sri Lanka possess the "flair" to be contenders to win a Twenty20 World Cup that he expects to be rescheduled.

Flower took the role of batting coach when Mickey Arthur was appointed Sri Lanka head coach on a two-year deal last December.

The new coaching team have not had much time to work with the players since taking over due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they are due to resume training next Monday.

Flower is optimistic the Arthur era will be a success and feels Sri Lanka can be a real threat at the next major tournament in Australia, which he believes will start later than October 18 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

He told Stats Perform News: "I suppose the beauty of T20 cricket is it can be quite hit and miss, so it's a lot easier to topple the big teams than it would be over, say, a five-day game.

"It is much more of a test of all of your skills put together in a five-day match, but in a T20 you can have a great game where a couple of your key players come off, you can be the best, so hopefully our skill levels can come through.

"They have always been good with the white ball, through a bit of innovation and their flair, a bit like the Pakistanis, so hopefully that continues."

The International Cricket Council on Wednesday denied reports that the World Cup has been postponed, but Flower is anticipating the showpiece will be put back.

"I'm always optimistic, but whether or not it happens or whether they decide to have an IPL before... I can see the T20 World Cup getting pushed back to maybe the end of the year. From what I've heard so far that's probably the way to go."

Former Zimbabwe all-rounder Flower wants to see senior Sri Lanka players realise their potential and reap the rewards of the faith that has been shown in them over the years.

He added: "There's a lot of enthusiasm here and the guys are skilful, it just needs a bit of structure and a lot of hard work, but I don't see any reason why we shouldn't have a good run here and get some decent results.

"A lot of the guys are at stages in their careers where a lot of investment has been put in them and they've been around for a while working with some good coaches, so hopefully that pays dividends."

 

- Grant Flower was speaking on behalf of The Conservation Games, a first-of-its-kind initiative from the Zambesia Conservation Alliance. To watch Grant in action, visit and subscribe to the Conservation Games Channel on YouTube.

Mitchell Starc thinks the ICC's recommendation to ban polishing the ball with saliva due to health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic could lead to boring cricket.

The ICC chief executives' committee will vote on the proposal, which has been put forward to "mitigate the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus", in June.

It has been reported the ICC will not permit the use of an artificial substance to generate movement when the ball is in the air, though players can use sweat.

Australia paceman Starc understands the concerns but thinks bowlers should be offered an alternative to ensure batsmen to not get an advantage.

"I understand that completely and hear what they're saying in terms of a foreign substance, but whether that can be controlled by the umpires in terms of they have a portion of the wax and you can only use a small amount, I don't know, but there needs to be a maintaining of the even contest," Starc said in a video conference.

"I understand what they're saying with foreign substances and that it's black and white in terms of that, but it's an unusual time for the world and if they're going to remove saliva shining for a portion of time they need to think of something else for that portion of time as well.

"Whether it be the wickets being not as flat or at least considering this shining wax to a degree, there needs to be some thought on that, I think.

"I guess you use both those things [saliva and sweat] to shine the ball. I've probably been a bit more on the sweat side, just trying to not get my hands in my mouth too much.

"But I agree completely with what Pat [Cummins] commented on last week: that contest with bat and ball, we don't want to lose that or get further away from that even contest, so there needs to be something in place to either keep that ball swinging.

"They've mentioned that it's only going to be there for a period of time and then once the world gets back to a relatively normal situation then saliva can come back into shining the ball.

"But if it's going to be a window of time there, maybe then instruct people to leave more grass on the wickets to have that contest or if they're going to take away a portion of maintaining the ball, there needs to be that even contest between bat and ball, otherwise people are going to stop watching, and kids aren't going to want to be bowlers.

"I think as we saw in Australia the last couple of years, there's some pretty flat wickets, and if that ball's going straight, it's a pretty boring contest.

"I think [ball manufacturers] Kookaburra have been developing a shining wax or something of the sort, so whether there's consideration of that, there needs to be some maintaining [of] that even contest.

"Generally, the spinners reckon that the wickets that seam a bit also spin, so maybe if you bring the bowlers back into the game, you'll tick all the boxes."

West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel is hopeful of returning from injury in time to be selected for a planned Test tour of England.

The Windies and England are attempting to organise a three-match series - to be held behind closed doors - for July, with games pencilled in for July 8, July 16 and July 24, according to Johnny Grave, the Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief executive.

Grave also confirmed a 25-man squad, including 10 reserves, will travel to the United Kingdom in the week commencing June 8.

Gabriel has not featured in the longest format since September 2019, having struggled with an ankle injury which subsequently required surgery in November last year.

Now, the paceman is focusing on stepping up his rehabilitation with the aim of returning to the fold for the series.

"It's a good feeling always to represent West Indies. It's good to be back out on the park," he told i955FM.

"The plan is right now to try to make it to the tour to England - hopefully that comes off. I'm just trying my best to stay positive and I hope everything goes well.

"It has been a long journey since November when I did the surgery on my ankle. Everything is going well, it has been a long process in terms of getting back to running and bowling and stuff like that.

"I am trying my best to be as fit as possible so I'm really working hard in terms of my fitness and managing my weight, trying not to get too heavy to put too much strain on my ankle. So I know once I put in the hard work everything will be okay in the end. I just want to stay positive.

"There has been no high-intensity work, I'm just taking my body back into it easy, taking it one day at a time and not trying to push too hard but it's still long while before the first Test in England and by that time I'm sure I'll be fit and ready."

With cricket having been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gabriel does not expect it to be an easy transition for many players to return, especially with physical-distancing measures introduced by the ICC.

"It's going to take a lot. It's going to be mentally taxing on the brain but you have to stay positive. Keep your mind fresh," Gabriel said.

"I know they [England] are going to be coming at us all guns [blazing] at us, but I know the guys

"Plus plenty of the guys haven't been playing any cricket, so it is going to take us a while to get back there. On the positive side, you're still getting the opportunity to play cricket and represent your country so that in itself should be enough motivation."

Dean Elgar would be open to taking the South Africa Test captaincy and believes his experience should stand him in good stead for the role.

Over three months after Faf du Plessis stepped down as skipper, there has been no confirmation of a successor.

Quinton de Kock took over as white-ball captain, but South Africa director of cricket Graeme Smith stated that he would not lead his country in the longest format.

Aiden Markram has expressed his desire to take charge of the Test side and his opening partner Elgar suggested he would not turn down the chance to replace Du Plessis.

Elgar, who turns 33 next month, said in an interview released by Cricket South Africa on Monday: "I have done the captaincy thing in the past and I have done it from school level and provincial level‚ and now in a few professional franchise teams‚ and I have extremely enjoyed it.

"If I was asked to do the captaincy‚ definitely I will think hard and long about it because it would mean a lot to me."

The left-hander, who has twice stepped up to captain the Test side, thinks both his leadership experience and playing alongside influential characters can only be a positive.

He added: "I think my learning has definitely been quite vast in that regard because of the personnel that I have had before me in the change room.

"It has definitely been an eye-opener for me‚ a great learning curve‚ which I am extremely grateful for.

"As a person you never stop growing really. There is still a lot of growth coming and hopefully what I have learned I can pass it on to the younger guys."

Real Madrid have two reasons to remember May 24 fondly, while cricketer Nasser Hussain is also unlikely to ever forget the date.

Madrid have lifted the Champions League trophy twice on this day in sporting history, beating familiar opponents on both occasions.

As for Hussain, the former England batsman bowed out with a final innings that was perfectly scripted (well, except for his involvement in an untimely run out).

Take a look back at the major moments to occur through the years.

 

2000 - Madrid prevail in all-Spain final 

Madrid and Valencia made Champions League history in Paris, as two clubs from the same country met in the final of Europe's premier club competition for the first time.

Valencia had reached the showpiece at the expense of Barcelona, including thrashing their LaLiga rivals 4-1 in the first leg of the semi-final on their way to a 5-3 aggregate triumph (the same scoreline by which they had knocked out Lazio in the previous round).

However, Vicente del Bosque's Madrid ran out comfortable winners on French soil, Fernando Morientes, Steve McManaman and Raul with the goals in a resounding 3-0 triumph.

2000 - Pistons legend Thomas rewarded 

A two-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star, Isiah Thomas was honoured for his achievements with a place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The point guard was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the second pick in the 1981 draft and went on to spend his entire playing career with the franchise, who retired his No.11 jersey.

Thomas played in 979 regular season games and was the focal point of the Detroit teams that won titles in 1989 and 1990, while the Pistons also had a heated rivalry with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the early 1990s.

Bob McAdoo, a two-time champion himself who was a prolific scorer in a 21-year playing career, was also voted in alongside Thomas.

2004 - Hussain signs out in style

In what would prove to be his final innings, Hussain scored an unbeaten hundred to help England beat New Zealand at Lord's.

The Black Caps had left the hosts needing a tough target of 282 in the final innings of the series opener - and they had England wobbling early at 35-2 following the dismissals of Marcus Trescothick and Mark Butcher.

Debutant Andrew Strauss combined with Hussain to put on a century stand before the former was run out following a mix-up with his senior batting partner, denying the left-hander - playing on his home ground - the possibility of scoring a century in both innings, as he departed for 83.

Hussain, however, made amends for his role in Strauss' dismissal by going on to reach three figures in a seven-wicket triumph. Three days later, he announced his retirement, swiftly moving from the field of play to the commentary box to start a career in the media.

2014 - Madrid derby sees Real clinch 'La Decima'

A 10th European title finally arrived for Madrid, though not without a dramatic late intervention from Sergio Ramos. Having not won the Champions League since 2002, they appeared set to fall at the final hurdle when they trailed city rivals Atletico 1-0 going into added time in Lisbon.

Diego Godin's first-half header had the newly crowned LaLiga champions on the brink of glory, but Ramos popped up to meet a Luka Modric corner and nod in a last-gasp equaliser.

Carlo Ancelotti's side went on to dominate in extra time, goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored from the penalty spot, sealing a 4-1 triumph.

To rub salt in the wounds for Atletico, boss Diego Simeone was sent off before the final whistle having ran onto the pitch to confront Raphael Varane following an incident in the aftermath to Ronaldo's goal.

Chris Woakes would welcome Alex Hales back into the England team if the explosive batsman is handed the chance to atone for his off-field mistakes.

The Nottinghamshire opener could be handed another opportunity in international cricket next week when England's selectors are expected to choose Test and limited-overs training groups.

Hales recently told the Daily Mail he hoped "people can forgive and forget" his previous errors, notably the incident before last year's World Cup when he was dumped from England's plans ahead of a tournament they famously won.

According to widespread reports, that Hales has not denied, he tested positive for a recreational drug and received a 21-day ban.

His management company said at the time that Hales had completed "certain rehabilitation measures" and was "devastated" to then lose his World Cup place.

England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan spoke of a "complete breakdown of trust" as Hales, who has played 141 matches for his country, was dropped.

Yet Hales may not be finished as an England cricketer, with reports he and officials from the England and Wales Cricket Board have spoken recently about his future.

England all-rounder Woakes said of the prospect of a recall: "I don't know if it's 100 per cent the right decision. It's not for me to make that call. I'm a believer that people serve their time, so to speak.

"He's gone through a tough time with what he had to go through with being left out of the World Cup and then seeing that team go on to lift the trophy. That must have been difficult for him.

"It's not my call but I think Alex is a world-class player. I've played a lot of cricket with him over the years, from a very young age.

"In a way I felt sorry for him, but I understood the decision from the management, the captain and the rest of the team.

"I don't know 100 per cent what will happen but I'd be happy to see Alex back in England colours. I imagine the majority would have the view that I've just given, in terms of people do deserve a second chance. If they've gone away and worked on what they need to work on, I don't see why anyone would see it any differently."

Woakes is 31, like Hales, and he underlined how standards in the dressing room demand responsibility and accountability throughout the team.

"We've got a culture and an environment in the England squad that we all try to pull in the right direction and all try to do the best for the team," Woakes said.

"If Alex is willing to do that, I would imagine everyone would be happy to see him back playing for England again."

The West Indies tour of England this summer is becoming increasingly likely following positive discussions between the medical team and staff of the English Cricket Board and the CWI on Monday.

Both boards have been in discussions since the start of the month intent on charting a pathway to the West Indies travelling to England for three Tests in July.

Initially scheduled for June, the tour was been postponed because of fears over player safety caused by the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19.

However, late last week, CWI notified 30 players that they should be prepared to travel and play in England in July if it is decided that the tour would go ahead. It was also revealed that further discussions were set to take place on Monday.

CWI CEO Johnny Grave confirmed to Sportsmax.TV Tuesday that those Monday talks went well.

“The ECB is confident that they can deliver a safe plan for bio-secure behind closed doors cricket that will meet the UK Government guidelines and will therefore likely secure their board's approval,” Grave told Sportsmax.TV today.

“We will have further meetings and discussions this week with the ECB as we try and plan for the Test Tour taking place this summer in an environment where the number-one priority is the health and safety of all players and staff."

During an interview on Sportsnation Live on Nationwide Radio in Jamaica on Saturday, Grave reiterated that safety was the primary concern of the CWI.

“We would have to be absolutely certain that our players and support staff would be in a safe environment in order for us to play cricket,” he said while explaining the conditions under which the team would travel and play in the UK.

“What it means at this stage is that we would use charter flights to first collect players in the Caribbean and then to make our way across the Atlantic. We wouldn’t be on aircraft with any other passengers. There would be private charters for our players and team.

“Then once we land in the UK we would undergo a two-week quarantine period, which would be at a cricket facility, so the players would have the opportunity to play and train. They would be the only ones in that secure environment.”

Grave said the hotel staff, ground staff and other personnel would be tested regularly and would have to remain on-site for the duration. “Once they enter that bio-secure environment no one would be allowed to come or go, so they’d be in lockdown within a cricket venue with a hotel on-site,” he said.

According to Grave, the CWI medical and support staff have determined that the Windies would need at least four weeks to get the players into the condition that they need to be to face England in the Test matches.

 

The ICC has recommended prohibiting using saliva to polish the ball as one of the proposed steps to ensure cricket can return safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus has decimated the 2020 cricket calendar, with the sport – like most around the world – on hold as countries fight against the spread of COVID-19.

The ICC's Cricket Committee convened via conference call and agreed on suggested changes to the governing body's regulations to "mitigate the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus, and protect the safety of players and match officials".

The measures will be put before the ICC Chief Executives' Committee next month for approval.

An ICC statement read: "The ICC Cricket Committee heard from the Chair of the ICC Medical Advisory Committee Dr Peter Harcourt regarding the elevated risk of the transmission of the virus through saliva, and unanimously agreed to recommend that the use of saliva to polish the ball be prohibited.

"The Committee also noted the medical advice that it is highly unlikely that the virus can be transmitted through sweat and saw no need to prohibit the use of sweat to polish the ball whilst recommending that enhanced hygiene measures are implemented on and around the playing field."

In addition to banning the use of saliva on the ball, the ICC also put forward alterations to be made regarding the appointment of match officials.

The ICC appoints non-neutral match referees for Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 internationals. The organisation is also responsible for selecting the first field umpire for Tests and ODIs, though the host country can select their own for T20Is.

However, in the short term, the ICC is recommending against non-neutral match officials.

The statement continued: "Given the challenges of international travel with borders being closed, limited commercial flights and mandatory quarantine periods, the Committee recommended that local match officials be appointed in the short-term.

"The appointments will continue to be made via the ICC from local Elite and International Panel referees and umpires. Where there are no Elite Panel match officials in the country, the best local International Panel match officials will be appointed.

"The Committee also recommended that the use of technology is increased to support the appointments of a wider pool of umpires from around the world and has proposed an additional DRS review per team per innings is introduced in each format as an interim measure."

Cricket Committee chair Anil Kumble said: "We are living through extraordinary times and the recommendations the Committee have made today are interim measures to enable us to safely resume cricket in a way that preserves the essence of our game whilst protecting everyone involved."

Aiden Markram would give an "arm and a leg" to captain the South Africa Test team but said landing the role is not the "be-all and end-all".

Faf du Plessis stepped down as Test skipper in February and also decided not to continue as captain of the limited-overs sides.

Quinton de Kock took over as the leader of the ODI and Twenty20 International teams, but a new Test captain has not yet been appointed.

Markram led South Africa to World Cup glory at Under-19 level in 2014 and the 25-year-old batsman would relish the chance to take the Proteas job, yet said it would not be the end of the world if he is overlooked.

The opener said: "I really enjoy captaincy. I enjoy the responsibilities that come with it.

"I would give an absolute arm and a leg to be able to do it, but I have said it before in the same breath, it's the not the be-all and end-all, so I don't want to become desperate about it."

He added: "I thoroughly enjoy captaining and would be honoured if it were the case, but I don't want to look too much into it.

"If it were to happen, it would be amazing. But if not, there are plenty good leaders within the environment that will take the team forward along with the management.

"My main focus is trying to get back into the side and stay on the field."

Markram broke a finger during the Test series defeat to England  last December, having also suffered a broken wrist when he reacted angrily to a dismissal against India last year.

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