Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) selection panel today named a fourteen (14) man Test squad and list of eleven (11) reserves for the proposed Sandals Tour of England 2020.  Subject to the final approval of the UK Government, the West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy in three back-to-back Test matches to be played behind closed doors,  starting on July 8.   The touring party, who will all be tested for COVID-19 this week, are scheduled to fly to England on private charters on June 8.

The West Indies squad will live, train and play in a “bio-secure” environment during the seven weeks of the tour, as part of the comprehensive medical and operations plans to ensure player and staff safety. The bio-secure protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, so the selection panel has also named a list of reserve players who will travel to train and help prepare the Test squad and ensure replacements are available in case of any injury.

Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul all declined the invitation to travel to England for the tour and CWI fully respects their decision to choose to do so.  As previously stated, CWI will not hold this decision against these players when considering future selection.

The two newcomers to the Test squad are middle-order batsman Nkrumah Bonner and fast bowler Chemar Holder.  The 22-year-old Holder – who is not related to captain Jason Holder – was the leading fast bowler in the West Indies Championship with 36 wickets in eight matches at 18.91 each, and was one of the successful ICC U-19 World Cup winning side in 2016.  Bonner, 31, will be making his Test squad debut after being one of the leading batsmen in the 2020 West Indies Championship with 523 runs in seven matches at an average of 58.11.  He has previously represented the West Indies when he played two T20 Internationals back in 2011 and 2012.

WEST INDIES TEST SQUAD:

Jason Holder (Captain)

Jermaine Blackwood

Nkrumah Bonner

Kraigg Brathwaite

Shamarh Brooks

John Campbell

Roston Chase

Rahkeem Cornwall

Shane Dowrich

Chemar Holder

Shai Hope

Alzarri Joseph

Raymon Reifer

Kemar Roach

 

RESERVE PLAYERS

Sunil Ambris

Joshua Da Silva

Shannon Gabriel

Keon Harding

Kyle Mayers

Preston McSween

Marquino Mindley

Shane Moseley

Anderson Phillip

Oshane Thomas

Jomel Warrican

 

“The new cricketing environment will take some getting used to. However, being in England and working together for four weeks before the first Test will give the squad the opportunity to get acclimatized and hopefully, mentally and technically adjusted to the demands of the new environment. Playing in July could be a blessing as the weather is likely to be warmer which will allow the squad more of an opportunity to play its best cricket.

“I think we have a squad that will be very competitive. More than half of the squad were involved in the victorious Test series against England in the Caribbean last year so they will bring that experience, that knowledge and belief with them and marry it to the enthusiasm and vitality of the newcomers. The experience of the players who toured England before in 2017 will also benefit the squad greatly. I expect that the bowling unit will once again provide a serious challenge for England and our batting will have to deliver. England is a tough team when playing in home conditions, however, I think the West Indies has a good chance of retaining the Wisden Trophy. We will have to bat consistently well to do so.”

Harper added: “Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowling talent who is coming off an excellent domestic First-Class season. He should enjoy bowling in English conditions. He could prove a real asset to the team in England. Nkrumah Bonner is an unflappable character. His ability to hold the innings together and bat through tight situations could serve the team very well. Jermaine Blackwood returns by sheer weight of performance in the domestic First-Class season. His patience and application were evident and that resulted in much greater consistency which I look forward to him taking back into the Test arena. His experience of playing Test cricket in England should stand him in good stead.

“Raymon Reifer has been around for a while and has proved to be a real competitor with both bat and ball – qualities that will add great value to the team. Shannon Gabriel is working his way back to full match fitness after his ankle operation last year. The four weeks leading up to the first Test will be of tremendous benefit to him. A fully fit and firing Shannon adds great potency to the bowling attack, so it is important to have him back at his best.”

West Indies are scheduled to arrive in Manchester on June 9 and will be based in Manchester for a three-week period before moving to Southampton for the first Test at the Ageas Bowl. They will then return to Manchester for the second and third matches at Emirates Old Trafford.  All these matches will be played behind closed doors and are still subject to UK Government approval.

PROPOSED MATCH SCHEDULE

July 8-12: 1st Test at Ageas Bowl, Southampton

July 16-20: 2nd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester

July 24-28: 3rd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester

Cricket West Indies (CWI) today announced a temporary 50 percent reduction in salaries and cricket funding across the entire regional cricket system, effective from the start of July. This decision has been necessary in the face of debilitating economic challenges which have resulted from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With no international cricket currently being played anywhere in the world, and with great uncertainty of when regular cricket activity will resume, CWI – like many other international sporting organisations worldwide – is facing a significant loss of income, whilst also being uncertain of the long-term impact of the crisis on our operations.

It is in that context that CWI’s Board of Directors, with deep regret, have agreed to a plan that we expect will safeguard CWI’s future while delivering at least a minimum level of job protection for all of the people employed or contracted throughout the region’s cricket community.

During Thursday’s Teleconference, CWI’s Board of Directors received recommendations from the Financial Strategy Advisory Committee (FSAC). The FSAC was formed in April by CWI President Ricky Skerritt, to make recommendations on how CWI could best manage its resources in order to continue its core business over the next few months in view of the changing and uncertain economic environment created by the global pandemic COVID-19. These recommended measures followed close consultation with all stakeholders.

President Skerritt said: “Cricket is the beating heart of our region for many individuals, communities, and economies. This pandemic is hurting every West Indian and this decision to cut staff and player incomes has been a very difficult one to make; one that will impact so many members of the cricketing family around the Caribbean. This business continuity plan unfortunately requires all stakeholders to make a huge sacrifice, but I am confident that it won’t be long before CWI will be in a position to ensure that the sport we love can restart and be enjoyed once again by the thousands of cricket fans across the region and diaspora.”

CWI has kept staff, players, umpires and coaches on full-pay since the outbreak of COVID-19 and have tried our best to avoid any cuts for as long as possible. CWI hopes that these temporary measures will only be in place for not more than three to six months. These measures will also include a 50 percent reduction in funding for Territorial Boards, Territorial Board Franchises and WIPA, as well as a 50 percent cut in all retainers and allowances for Directors and Executive management.

CWI CEO, Johnny Grave said: “The effects of this pandemic have been distressing for everyone – the worst crisis of our lifetime – and at present, we cannot be certain when the situation will be rectified.  We recognize that this will cause financial pain for all our staff, players, coaches and umpires across the Caribbean, but having kept everyone on full-pay since the outbreak in March we have no choice but to take decisive action from next month onwards. CWI’s greatest asset is our people and players and everyone sharing equally in the temporary reduction, we believe is the best way for us to ensure we get through this crisis and protect our organisation and all the jobs in the system.  We will be reviewing the situation regularly with the hope that we can return to normal operations at the earliest opportunity.”

The Board of Directors of Cricket West Indies (CWI) met via Teleconference on Thursday, May 28. The majority of the lengthy meeting focused on discussing the initial short-term recommendations from the Financial Strategy Advisory Committee (FSAC), a special purpose committee that was put in place by CWI President Ricky Skerritt on April 2, 2020. The committee comprised a joint membership of Directors and Executive Management, all with significant financial management expertise, chaired by JCA President, Wilford “Billy” Heaven. The Board agreed to the committee’s business continuity plan of action, for how CWI would have to operate in order to survive its cash flow crisis, in the context of the debilitating economic uncertainties of the global pandemic COVID-19.

The Board also gave approval in principle for the proposed upcoming West Indies Test tour of England. The decision comes only after CWI medical and cricket-related representatives and advisors have been involved in detailed discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and their own medical and public health advisers.  These discussions involve the local and international logistics and protocols which are already being put in place to minimize risk and optimize the health and safety of all concerned.  CWI has also received and reviewed detailed plans for players and staff to be kept in a bio-secure environment for the duration of the tour, with all matches being played “behind closed doors”.

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.

President Ricky Skerritt, stated: “I would like to thank the CWI Management, the Medical Advisory Committee, and the FSAC for their detailed and timely presentations given to the Board meeting.  In addition to our approval in principle of the proposed Test Tour of England, we made some significant financial management decisions that will be announced and implemented in due course.  The great detail to which the Board engaged in these matters is testimony to their urgency and importance, but it meant that we had to defer a few agenda items until next Wednesday (June 3), when we have scheduled to reconvene”.

CWI will continue to fine-tune the various arrangements with the ECB, whilst they await final UK Government approval of their plans for a bio-secure tour with all three Test Matches being played behind closed doors.