England announce schedule of West Indies Test series
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced the proposed dates and venues of England's impending Test series against West Indies. The ECB Director of Events, Steve Elworthy confirmed that West Indies squad will arrive in the UK on June 9 and travel to Emirates Old Trafford for quarantining and training. This will be their base for a three-week period. Here is more.
The series opener will be played at the Ageas Bowl from July 8-12, while the Emirates Old Trafford will host the second (July 16-20) and third Test (24-28). A decision on the other scheduled matches will be taken later.
As many as four international venues expressed interest in staging matches by the deadline of May 11, based on several fundamental principles. Eventually, the ECB finalized Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford as hosts. The venues had to demonstrate a number of principles in order to create a bio-secure environment. The criteria comprised of bio-security, medical screening and footprint to enable social distancing.
The Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford will receive an administration fee for hosting the Test series, while all additional costs will be met by the ECB. Notably, Edgbaston has been selected as a contingency venue, which will be used to stage additional training.
Elworthy added it will be subject to government clearance. "Our main objective is to deliver a safe environment for all stakeholders including players, match officials, operational staff, essential venue staff, broadcasters and media," he said. "We are in dialogue with the Government and our medical team, who have been incredibly supportive. These are our proposed dates and they remain subject to UK Government approval."
Previously, Cricket West Indies (CWI) gave a go-ahead to the tour after the England cricket board ensured a bio-secure environment. The two cricket boards unanimously agreed that all the matches will be played behind closed doors. "The decision comes only after CWI medical and cricket-related representatives and advisers have been involved in detailed discussions with ECB," Cricket West Indies said in a statement.