Britain has been marked to host a series of three Tests against the West Indies in July to mark the reappearance of international cricket amid a coronavirus pandemic.
The proposed series, subject to government permission, is scheduled to start on July 8 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton followed by Tests at Old Trafford in Manchester on July 16 and 24. The West Indies in principle agreed to play last week and will arrive in England on June 9. They will be based at Old Trafford for quarantine for three weeks.
All three tests will be held behind closed doors, with players and officials staying at hotels on site in biosecure conditions. There will be routine testing and quarantine zones for anyone suspected of contracting the virus.
The series was originally scheduled for June 4-29 with matches in Birmingham and London before being postponed due to a coronavirus pandemic.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director Steve Elworthy hopes this series will happen. “Our main goal is to provide a safe environment for all stakeholders including players, match officials, operational staff, important staff, broadcasters and the media,” he said.
“We are in dialogue every day with the government and our medical team, who have been very supportive during this period. This is the date we propose and they remain subject to the approval of the British government.”
Former English batsman Jonathan Trott believes players will be excited for matches played in empty stadiums. “When you think of playing for England, you always think of a crowded house,” he told the BBC. “It will be a little different behind closed doors but it is no different from playing in some reason abroad.”
England was devastated by a virus which caused chaos in its busy summer sports schedule with Wimbledon, in particular, being canceled. Britain’s domestic cricket county season, which starts on April 12, has been postponed until at least August 1, with the ECB hoping the short season can be saved.
Pushing forward with international matches is seen as a necessity to avoid a big financial hit with the ECB expecting a loss of $ 300 million in match day, broadcast and sponsor income if a season is canceled.
Uncertainty remained at the end of the English international season with Pakistan because the tour for the three-Test series originally began on 30 July, while England were also scheduled to play limited matches against Australia and Ireland.
Chair of the Pakistan Cricket Council Ehsan Mani tell me in April that “moving forward beyond our season is becoming more critical (financially)”. Mani revealed that the initial “detailed financial analysis” of the PCB estimated a loss of around $ 5-6 million in revenue due to the final stages of the Pakistani home season being canceled.
International crickets have been suspended since the Pakistan Super League was postponed on March 17 ahead of the semifinals, which have made administrators around the world struggle hard to save matches and revenues.
Indian Premier League, cricket richest and biggest tournament, it should have just been concluded but hope to reschedule during the window from September to November, which was intended as the time frame for the T20 World Cup in Australia.
The T20 World Cup, which is likely to be played in private, will be postponed until next year. “We have been hoping for this to be staged in October-November but you have to say there is a very high risk about the prospect of it happening,” Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts said last week.
There is still a lot of uncertainty but cricket fans are starting to get excited about the return of the Test match.
Even if they can only watch on television.
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