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.

 

Reports have emerged that Cricket West Indies has contacted 29 regional players telling them to prepare for a possible tour of England this coming July.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) have agreed to postpone both the Women’s Colonial Medical Insurance One Day International (ODI) Series against South Africa Women, scheduled to begin at the end of the month in Jamaica and Trinidad, as well as the Men’s ‘A’ Team Series scheduled to commence in Antigua in June.

England Test captain Joe Root is in support of finding a way to make sure his side can welcome a visit from the West Indies as early as July.

For that to happen, the players would have to go through rigid isolation and testing protocols, as well as austere social distancing measures.

Of course, the proposal will include officials as well as media and the England skipper thinks it can work.

“I’m optimistic about it. It would be a real shame if it doesn’t happen. The public are desperate for some live sport and the guys are missing it,” said Root.
“The players would be sectioned off in one part of the hotel and would be in isolation together. There would be no interaction with the media, the TV crews or even the opposition when off the pitch.

“We would have separate lunchrooms. It would have a different feel to it but it’s probably manageable. Hopefully that is the case.”

According to the proposals, the three Tests would be played at ‘bio-secure’ venues behind closed doors.

Those venues, the proposal points out, are those that have hotels on location, like Manchester, Southampton and Headingly.

Root, while optimistic, is cognizant of the fact that Cricket West Indies (CWI) would have to take the risk.

In response, West Indies Test captain Jason Holder, has said his side would have to be certain of their safety before saying yes to such a proposal.

“This thing has been really, really serious as we all know and has claimed quite a few lives throughout the world and that’s the last thing any of us would really want,” said Holder.

“I think we’ve got to play the safety card first before we can even think about resuming our normal lives.”

In the meantime, CWI Chief Executive, Johnny Grave, has said the England Cricket Board’s proposals were being considered but that first all the moving parts would have to be understood.
England will be desperate to get back the Wisden Trophy they lost to the West Indies last year for the first time in a decade.

Germany are set to restart their Bundesliga campaign and other European countries are looking to follow suit earliest.

The England and Wales Cricket Board, Cricket Australia, are actively looking at ways to restart cricket in their countries. Cricket West Indies have said nothing, except to say salaries might be cut in the near future.

Smaller cricket nations like the West Indies and Bangladesh, as you would imagine, are closer to the ground in terms of how much of a cushion they have for (unimaginable) eventualities like COVID-19.

I can understand the region taking a hit, but what I can’t understand, is how quiet the governing body for the sport here has been.

Chief Executive Officer, Johnny Grave, has made a couple of statements, one in respect to the Women’s cricket and how precarious postponements and cancellations make the sport in the region, and another about the salaries it pays out to regional players and the potential for reduction.

I get that. I get both statements. What I haven’t heard from Grave and his president Ricky Skerritt, is what, if any, strategies are being put in place for the regional game’s recovery?

And the truth is, there may be no answer to this, however, I want to know that Cricket West Indies have not just folded their hands in a time of crisis.

I have some ideas, and they may all be terrible ideas, but at the very least, I have them.

Leaders at a time like this must show their mettle.

In Jamaica, the hardest-hit Caribbean country by COVID-19, their leaders have made public, on a day-to-day basis, their strategy for fighting the spread of the disease and strategies to help those impacted.

When schools closed, there was an immediate response, with the government posting online material for primary and secondary-level education to continue.

It is too early to tell if these things work or are working, but I see the effort.

The Heads of State in the region, brought together a team, the Committee on Governance of West Indies Cricket, commissioned a report for the running of West Indies Cricket because they had said the organization, then called the West Indies Cricket Board, had fallen away badly.

The Heads of State need to now be putting their heads together to, again, ensure the survival of West Indies Cricket, they too have been silent.

Once as a young man, I faced a gunman and I had every opportunity to make good my escape, but at the time, I had never been faced with my own mortality before and I froze.

That is not likely to happen again, because having faced my mortality, I am less afraid today.

The same should be true of West Indies Cricket and its leaders. I can understand it freezing out of fear after its calamitous free-fall over the last 25 years, but now, having begun to arrest the slide, we must be bold.

Here’s one of my ideas.

Why don’t we agree to pick a country yet to be impacted or significantly impacted by the Coronavirus, have each territory pick teams, bring those teams to that island, quarantine them for 14 days, while doing the requisite Testing, put them up in a sterile location, hotels don’t have guests these days with all the lockdowns, arrange transportation to and from a venue already made sterile, do the same with a broadcaster (say SportsMax as a shameless plug), and sell the rights to a tournament?

There is no other cricket being played anywhere, so I doubt you’ll have a problem selling the only live content out there.

Like I said, could be a bad idea and maybe I’m not taking into consideration enough variables.

However, I believe sitting on your hands during this time is worse.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) CEO Johnny Grave has continued to insist the body will put the players' health first but remains flexible regarding the scheduling of the West Indies versus England series.

The series was originally expected to begin in London on June 4, followed by matches at Edgbaston and Lord's starting on 12 and 25 June respectively.  With the world, however, yet to assert any significant measure of control over the spread of the novel coronavirus, sporting activity remains suspended.  Even if the series between the teams is played later in the year rules banning mass gatherings would likely still be in force, meaning matches would have to take place behind closed doors.  Grave insists the CWI would remain guided by the best medical advice available and discussions surrounding the issue are already under way.

"Clearly playing in June is now not possible and we will continue our discussions with the ECB and other international boards on trying to find new dates," said Grave in a statement from the governing body.

"Our respective medical teams are beginning to discuss how this (England) series could be played whilst guaranteeing the health and safety of our players and support team,” he added.

"We will be as flexible as we can without compromising the safety of our team.”

Cricket West Indies (CWI) on the advice and agreement with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), has announced the postponement of the West Indies Men’s three-Test series against England in June, to a future date to be determined.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) CEO Johnny Grave insists large scale pay reductions are not yet on the table for the organisation but could become a reality as it struggles to make ends meet, with the fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic.

CWI and other cricket boards around the world have struggled to come to grips with both a drop-off in revenue and the uncertainty of surrounding fixtures that have had to be moved around for safety reasons.  With a large portion of the organisation’s revenue coming from broadcast rights, a nightmare scenario like no cricket for the rest of the year could leave the organization in dire straights and with tough decisions to make.

“Cleary that (no cricket) would have to see a significant reduction of all of our costs and salaries for playing staff and officials is clearly a part of that,” Grave said in a recent interview on the Mason and Guest radio show.

The CEO insists that while CWI are not yet forced to face that worse case scenario, the body has put together a committee to assess the organization’s options.

 “We’re in unprecedented times and everyone is in difficult situations and everyone is doing their best to protect what cash they have and keep their staff and their people paid,” he added.

“It’s very difficult to say with any degree of certainty what action we may take, but clearly the priority for us at the moment is, first and foremost, the health and safety of all our players and staff and clearly their wider communities and the countries of the Caribbean. We need to act very responsibly and in line with the government and medical advice.

“Secondly, our major priority is to try and keep all our people paid at full pay for as long as we can, but clearly there will come a point in time where that becomes not a possibility.”

Sir Vivian Richards believes Cricket West Indies missed an opportunity to improve Women’s cricket after their first World Cup win and again when the region hosted the event in 2018.

According to Sir Viv, a National Hero in his native Antigua, the missed opportunities mean there is now an uphill task for the women in the region to get to the level where they can, again, win world tournaments.

“After we would have had the women’s World Cup and after they would have won we haven’t seen the so-called promises we would had here with the tournament being held her in the Caribbean, and we here in Antigua would have seen the hype about the ladies and where we are going, but I think that has been a letdown,” said Richards.

“We would have dropped a few points in that particular category and that’s one of the negatives that I think in order to try and get that momentum again where we once were because it is not looking good at present, and especially with some of the tournaments we would have seen the girls partake in this year also,” he said.

Recently, Cricket West Indies CEO, Johnny Grave, indicated that his organization would be doing all it could to ensure that the regional tournament for women continued despite the fear of COVID-19 spread in the Caribbean.

The CEO was speaking about the Women’s Super50 Cup as well as the inaugural Regional Under-19 Women’s Championship.

“They are very important tournaments, not just in terms of the preparation but in terms of the preparation for the selection of those respective squads as we look to compete in the World Cups of those events due to take place in the early part of 2021,” said Grave.

 Cricket West Indies (CWI) CEO Johnny Grave has insisted the organization is doing all it can to keep the women’s senior and junior tournaments on the cards for this year.

Concerns arising from the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of the region’s Under-15 boys Championship and Under-15 tour of England set for later this year.  In addition, the domestic first-class championship was aborted two rounds early with table-topping Barbados declared the winner.

With the Women’s World Cup expected to bowl off early next year, Grave and CWI believe the tournament as a crucial part of the women’s team’s preparations.  Instead, the tournaments up for consideration, the Women’s Super50 Cup and inaugural Regional Under-19s Women’s T20 Championship will be pushed forward until later this year.

“They are very important tournaments, not just in terms of the preparation but in terms of the preparation for the selection of those respective squads as we look to compete in the World Cups of those events due to take place in the early part of 2021,” Grave said.

As expected, the official could not a date for the start but insists the CWI would be guided by the medical given to the association.

“Following the advice from our medical advisory committee, we’ve extended the suspension that we announced 10 days ago which was for an initial 30-day period.”

The Barbados Pride have been declared winners of the 2020 West Indies Championship (Four-Day), following a CWI Board of Directors teleconference held Tuesday afternoon.

 Acting upon the advice of the CWI Medical Advisory Committee, the board decided to cancel the last two rounds of matches in the first-class season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Barbados Pride top of the points table after the eighth round, the Board unanimously agreed to award the Headley/Weekes Trophy to Barbados.

“All around the sporting world, we are faced with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cricket, cricketers and all our stakeholders involved in the game have been affected at various levels and we must continue to work to together and act responsibly in containing the spread of the virus,” said CWI CEO Johnny Grave.

“Ten days ago, we suspended our tournaments and camps for 30 days and now we have extended that suspension until the end of May as well as reluctantly cancelled some tournaments and tours in their entirety.  We will continue to monitor and assess the situation and make further decisions and announcements in due course.”

Grave added that the health and safety of everyone concerned were paramount and noted that CWI has put all systems in place to make sure its staff was observing the necessary protocols as outlined by the CWI Medical Advisory Committee and the World Health Organisation.

CWI has also reinforced the importance for all Territorial Boards and Local Cricket Associations to follow the advice of their respective Ministries of Health.

 

Below is the final points table:

 

Barbados Pride                                  134.8 points

 

Trinidad & Tobago Red Force          94.6 points

 

Guyana Jaguars                                  91.8 points

 

Jamaica Scorpions                             91.8 points

 

Windward Islands Volcanoes           78 points

 

Leeward Islands Hurricanes            52.8 points

  

Meanwhile, the Tournaments and Camps immediately affected are:

Colonial Medical Insurance Women’s Super50 Cup – postponed to later this year.

Regional Under-19s Women’s T20 Championship – postponed to later this year.

Regional Under-15s Boys Championship – cancelled for 2020.

West Indies Under-15s Tour to England in the summer – cancelled for 2020.

West Indies High-Performance and International preparation training camps – cancelled until at least May 31, 2020.

 

 

 

 

West Indies star allrounder Andre Russell is set to undergo a fitness test with a view to making him part of the region’s bid for a third lien on the Twenty20 World Cup set for Australia this year.

It has been more than a year and a half since Russell last represented the West Indies in a T20 International with the 2019 World Cup marking the last time he suited up for the side.

During that World Cup Russell was unable to finish a game without treatment and seemed in real pain. He had to do knee surgery after limping out of one game, but seems on the comeback trail, having played in a number of domestic T20 games around the world.

“Hopefully, in the next few weeks he will undergo what is described by the medical team as a return-to-play protocol,” said Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave.

“So he will go through a fitness test to see how his knees have recovered from the injuries that he suffered and allowing us to see if he would be passed fit medically – which is the first stage – and injury free in terms of his ability to both bat and bowl.

“He would then build up his fitness levels and hopefully through performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) make himself available for selection for the West Indies.”

Russell is expected to turn out for the Kolkata Knight Riders when the IPL season bowls off on March 29 later this year.

Russell’s partner at KKR, mystery spinner Sunil Narine is also somebody the West Indies are keeping a close watch on.

Narine played through a finger injury during last year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and has also, for a number of years, struggled with his action.

“He’s obviously been a player that has been a fantastic servant and player for West Indies, particularly in white ball cricket, but at this stage, Sunil is still working on his action,” said Grave.

“He obviously had the finger injury which took him out and made him struggle to bowl, and we’re hoping that he’s going to be fully fit … and be able to bowl his full portfolio of deliveries for the IPL and then fingers crossed, from the West Indies point of view, all goes well and he can follow that through into the CPL and hopefully be in form and be available for the World Cup.”

The T20 World Cup in Australia takes place in October.

CWI chief executive refutes claims players omission was no conspiracy and players have known rules for two years.

West Indies Cricket chief executive Johnny Grave maintains the regional sport’s governing body takes very little pleasure in excluding players from the squad for fitness reasons but insists the standards are well known and accepted.

Controversy struck earlier this week after promising batsmen Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer were left out of the regional team, ahead of its series against Sri Lanka after both failed a fitness test.  The opener Lewis’ omission came as even more of a surprise in the circumstances, considering the fact that he was the team’s best player in the recently concluded series against Ireland.

“We’ve made it clear to the players for three years now.  The last thing we want to do is to be fining any players.  The last thing we want to be doing is to be downgrading a player’s contract.  The last thing we want to do is to not have any of our players available for selection,” Grave told the SportsMax Zone.

“At the same time if we have really to make a difference in driving a new fitness culture in our cricket and professionalizing all elements of cricket in the West Indies, we have to have minimum standards, accountability for those standards and consequences if players don’t adhere to those standards,” he added.

According to the official over the last two years, CWI has been forced to fine players significant sums of money and significantly reduced salaries.

Both players failed to meet the minimum standard but are expected to be re-tested in a few weeks.

  

 

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