Cricket West Indies are engaged in what they describe as ‘positive discussions’ with Sandals Resorts for the latter to resume as its primary sponsor.

Sandals signed on as the CWI’s primary sponsor in 2018 in a partnership that covered all West Indies teams from U15s through to the senior men’s and women’s outfits. The Sandals’ logo featured on all West Indies playing and training kit as part of the deal that expired at the end of last year.

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave confirmed to Sportsmax.TV today that positive discussions are ongoing. He indicated that there will likely be a temporary halt in those discussions following news Monday night of the passing of Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, the founder of the Sandals Resorts.

He indicated that the discussions would resume at an “appropriate time”.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) will, this week, send a two-member inspection team to Bangladesh to conduct a detailed assessment ahead of the scheduled ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP) tour in January next year.

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave said he is especially disappointed with the West Indies who breached New Zealand’s strict Covid-19 protocols earlier this week, is that they arguably are the most experienced dealing with being in isolation since the return of competitive cricket.

Grave also hinted at the possibility of individual sanctions facing as many as four or five players who are alleged to have been involved and said there were plans to interview all the players and personnel who would have information salient to an investigation into the matter.

In a statement Tuesday night, CWI said it had launched an investigation to the reports that several players had breached protocols and as a result had been banned from training for the final two days of isolation.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health reported that members of the team were confirmed to have repeatedly broken isolation rules. Many of the incidents were captured on close circuit television and have been reported by staff at the facility where the players are being housed.

New Zealand cricket said the incidents included some players compromising bubble integrity by sharing food, and socializing in hallways. However, there is no evidence that any members of the touring party left the facility, or that any unauthorized persons accessed it.

An embarrassed Grave speaking to media on a Zoom call expressed his disappointment at the situation while supporting the sanctions imposed on the players.

“I think my disappointment is mainly the fact that our players are probably the most experienced players in the world in dealing with these strict quarantine measures. I am not, for any second, saying that they’re easy and living in them day in and day out is obviously a massive challenge. It’s still not natural for people to always wear a mask and always do things we have been trained to do for so many years, living our lives in the way we have before Covid,’ he said.

“But these players, the majority of them have been in a seven-week quarantine isolation bubble for the duration of the England men’s tour that we held in June and July. They all pretty much went to Trinidad and Tobago, which had a very similar situation to New Zealand with its borders fully shut with the government dispensation to allow us to host the Caribbean Premier League, and they have been within that facility in Christchurch for virtually the whole quarantine period. So its hugely disappointing that players who knew what the protocols were have clearly broken them by mixing together.”

He said their actions have put the tour and the New Zealand population at risk.

Like the CPL, the 2021 Regional Super 50 competition will likely be held in one country as Cricket West Indies attempts to get competitions back up and running in the Caribbean. And, like the CPL that was held in Trinidad in late August, there will be no spectators.

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave believes the addition of Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer and the competition for spaces will see the West Indies Test performing much better in New Zealand than it did in England during the summer.

Bravo and Hetmyer declined invitations to the West Indies squad for the #Raisethebatseries in England in July citing concerns over safety. The West Indies relied on Shamarh Brooks, Shai Hope and Jermaine Blackwood during the series when they won the first Test at Southampton only to capitulate in the remaining two Tests as the home side came from behind to win the series 2-1.

For the tour of New Zealand that begins on November 27 with the first of three T20 Internationals and then two Tests, the West Indies have the services of the two middle order batsman. However, Hope was not selected due to a protracted poor run of form.

Notwithstanding, the Cricket West Indies CEO believes the Caribbean side will deliver a much better showing in what is expected to be a tough series.

“I think touring New Zealand for any team, whatever form you’re in, is challenging, particularly in the Test matches. They haven’t lost a Test match series in New Zealand for years and years against every opposition that they have faced, so we are fully aware of the challenges of playing New Zealand in their home conditions,” Grave said.

“But, I think the Test team has made progress over the last few years and in moments, they’ve obviously won Test matches. What we’re really looking for is winning series, particularly away from home.

“We started the series against England brilliantly, beating them comprehensively in the first Test and we were in a good position in the second Test to seeing out a draw to retain the Wisden trophy but that didn’t happen so I think is hungry to get some championship points in the World Test Championships and also start to prove to themselves that they’re capable of winning series and delivering on that potential.”

This belief, he said, is based on the improvement in the batting driven by competition for places when compared to the team on the England tour.

“Certainly, I am sure the batting line-up will be strengthened and be more competitive with the return of Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer etc,” Grave said.

“It’s going to be more competition for places in that middle order and batting line-up and it’s the batting where we need to show the most improvement because everyone is confident is capable of taking 20 wickets, what we need to do is get enough runs on the board to put whatever team we are playing against under pressure.”

 

 

 

 

 

On the heels of news that Andre Russell has withdrawn from the 2020 Lankan Premier League it has emerged that the all-rounder did not request a No Objection Certificate from Cricket West Indies that would allow him to play in the Sri Lankan T20 league.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) CEO Johnny Grave has hailed the upcoming women’s England tour as a good way for the region to ‘kick start’ the women’s program.

The men’s program restarted under similar circumstances when the team became one of the first to resume playing international cricket, with its tour against England last month.  With the women’s inactive for the entire period, concerns were raised regarding a need to keep them engaged and active.

With South Africa pulling out of the tour, due to prevailing concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic, the regional team was invited to fill the spot.

“It’s similar to the men in as much as the ECB has said they understand the financial position that we are in and they have agreed to pick up the cost.  So, this provides us with the best opportunity to restart our women’s program,” Grave told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“With the Guyana and Trinidad borders shut, getting the women together has been impossible.  They haven’t been training since March, since they returned from the World T20 in Australia.  This provides us with the opportunity to have three weeks of training camp prior to a couple of weeks’ worth of games.  We are playing five international T20s.  So, it really has kickstarted our women’s program, which we have been trying to do.”

The West Indies Women will play England in five Vitality International T20 matches at the Incora County Ground, Derby in September.

Cricket West Indie CEO Johnny Grave has expressed delight with the start of this season’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tournament, amidst complications caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The West Indies became one of the first teams to return to international cricket last month, after embarking on a three-match tour of England.  The entire series, which the West Indies lost 2-1, took place in a biosecure environment.

Likewise, the region has been among the first to return to hosting a major T20 franchise tournament when the CPL tipped off on Tuesday.  The entire tournament will take place in Trinidad and Tobago, where another bio-secure environment has been established.  Grave believes the return of the tournament to the region’s pitches will provide a boost to players and fans alike, despite this edition being played in an empty stadium.

“I think it’s great that we have cricket back on in the region.  We are very proud of the fact that with England and Wales Cricket Board we were able to bring international cricket back to the world,” Grave said.

“It’s great for everyone in the region, it’s brilliant for our players.  It’s great for cricket fans around the world that they’ve now got almost doubleheaders every single day for the next few weeks to enjoy,” he added.

“We haven’t had any regional cricket since the West Indies Championship finished in March.  So, I think the West Indians involved in CPL alone will pick up collectively US$2m.  It is really important to them as professional cricketers that they can earn some much-needed match fees from the tournament.”

The West Indies will be among four teams that will tour New Zealand during the home season, according to media reports. The Caribbean side is scheduled to play Tests and T20 Internationals in line with the Future Tours Programme.

 David White, CEO of New Zealand Cricket said the tours would go ahead despite the ongoing pandemic, saying that managed isolation arrangements are being worked out for the visiting teams.

"We are making tremendous progress. I was just on the phone to the West Indies, they're confirmed, Pakistan is confirmed, Australia and Bangladesh... so 37 days of international cricket," White told reporters in Auckland.

However, CWI CEO Johnny Grave told Sportsmax.TV that nothing has been confirmed for the Caribbean side to visit New Zealand where there were no reported COVID-19 infections for more than three months.

The West Indies recently returned from their three-Test bio-secure #Raisethebat series in England. The hosts won the series 2-1.

Any possibility of South Africa playing in the West Indies later this year will largely be dependent on the IPL and the lifting of travel restrictions that will allow the team to travel to the Caribbean.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons was granted permission to attend his father-in-law’s funeral in England last Friday. That’s the word from Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave, who was responding to queries from Sportsmax.TV.

Simmons has been self-isolating since and will only be permitted to re-join the team on Thursday, July 2, if he returns two negative Covid-19 tests.

However, his decision to leave the bio-secure location has raised some concerns and questions over whether the head coach unilaterally decided to leave the facility where the team has been preparing for the coming three-Test series beginning July 8.

Grave assured that Simmons received permission from the Chief Medical Officers of Cricket West Indies and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

“Yes, he left to go to his father-in-law's funeral on Friday and is now going through the re-entry process having had his whole exit and entry approved and managed by the medical teams,” Grave said.

In Simmons’ absence, assistant coaches Roddy Estwick and Rayon Griffith will oversee the Windies four-day, first-class fixture that starts on Monday.

Floyd Reifer will be the batting coach

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Johnny Grave has sought to set aside rumours that the regional team was obligated to accept the tour of England because of a US$3m loan they received from the England Cricket Board (ECB) earlier this year.

The West Indies and England are set for a return to international cricket next month with a three-match Test series, in England.  With the spread and effects of the coronavirus still very much evident in the UK, however, some have questioned the wisdom of the decision, particularly based on the risk posed to the players.

With 291,409 thousand reported cases and 41,279 deaths, the UK is the hardest-hit region in Europe.  The ECB has, however, been taking precautions with a chartered flight for the team to the UK and the implementation of a biosecure environment for the series, which will keep the players quarantined from the rest of the general public for the duration of the tour.  There is still, however, some risk attached but Grave has been quick to dismiss suggestions the invitation was accepted because of a debt owed.

“We got a three-million-dollar advance of our ICC distribution that was given to us by ECB.  It’s a short-term interest-free advance because its due to be paid back in full in July, directly by ICC to ECB and will be deducted from the money we get,” Grave told Barbados Nationnews.

“In early May when we received it, we weren’t discussing it at all because the situation in the UK was not the state that it is now.  So, I guarantee you it’s not linked in any way shape, or form to our touring or not touring.”

A decision on whether the West Indies will go ahead with their three-Test tour of England could be made by Thursday this week, CWI CEO Johnny Grave has said.

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.

 

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