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.

For the first time since March, competitive cricket involving international players of a Full Member team is set to return after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Vincy Premier League (VPL), a franchise-based T10 tournament, is scheduled to start from May 22 in the eastern Caribbean country of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

This will be the inaugural season of the VPL, a six-team tournament, which will be played from May 22 to 31 at the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex in St Vincent.

Although the Pacific nation of Vanuatu became the first country to resume cricket since the pandemic halted all sport in March, the VPL will be the first instance when the game will resume in a Full Member region comprising international players. The VPL will also become the first tournament where the players will not be allowed to use saliva on the ball, a concept that the ICC and medical experts at various cricket boards have been discussing, as reported recently by ESPNcricinfo. The tournament is set to be open for fans as there are no restrictions imposed by the government in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The VPL comprises 30 matches, which will be streamed live, with three games scheduled per day. A total of 72 players were picked by the six franchises via a draft held on May 11. Among them are six marquee players, including three West Indies players – seamer Kesrick Williams, opening batsman Sunil Ambris and left-arm fast bowler Obed McCoy.

The last recognised match before Covid-19 halted games across the world was played on March 15 when the Karachi Kings hosted the Quetta Gladiators in the PSL.

The VPL will be hosted by St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association (SVGA), whose president, Kishore Shallow, is also the vice-president at Cricket West Indies (CWI).

Shallow said the VPL was put together in the last two weeks after he was approached by Dream 11, an India-based sports technology company. He then alerted CWI and sent in a formal request via the Windward Island Cricket Association (of which the SVGA is a member) asking for the VPL to be sanctioned. Shallow said he had spoken to both CWI chief executive Johnny Grave and CWI cricket operations manager Roland Holder about the VIPL.

“We have formally written to CWI. And I expect to get a positive response from them soon,” Shallow told ESPNcricinfo.

According to Shallow, there were a total of 18 positive cases of Covid-19 in St Vincent and the Grenadines as of Wednesday, of which 10 had successfully recovered. Keeping in mind the risk posed by the pandemic, Shallow said the tournament had the “endorsement” from the local government and the ministry of health. He said the players would not be “exposed to the public” and all necessary precautions as advised by the government would be ensured including having additional short breaks at various points during the match where players would be asked to use hand sanitisers.

“No player would be allowed to use any saliva on the ball,” he said. “Of course, we will be having different dedicated, assigned spaces around the players’ pavilion for teams so that they are not necessarily crowded together. All teams would have their own space where they could practise physical distancing.”

Shallow said that since there was no “formal limitations in terms of social gatherings” imposed by the local government the organisers had decided to not play behind closed doors, a mandatory policy issued by several other countries around the globe to sporting organisations.

“What we have been doing is managing the risk. So what we plan to do during the tournament is ask spectators to practise social and physical distancing. So they will be sitting at least a few seats apart. And because of the time the matches are taking place, we do not anticipate a massive crowd at the matches.”

Shallow said all the league matches would start at an “unusual time”, 8.30am local time and go on until 2pm only to “capture” the Indian audience where Dream 11 has its wide user base.

“We came up with this T10 franchise format because of the absence of sports content at this point, and thought that this brand of cricket would be enticing to cricket fans across the globe in a short duration,” Shallow said at the launch of the draft on May 11.

Shallow pointed out that the SVGA would be “sensitising” players about the anti-corruption programme too. “We will make sure our players continue to observe and conform to the anti-corruption code.”

Cricket West Indies (CWI) is inviting Caribbean radio production and broadcast partners to submit proposals to produce and broadcast high quality radio commentary for all West Indies Men’s and Women’s International Home Series from 2020 to 2021. CWI has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) document which also includes radio rights for the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup in both 2020 and 2021 as well as the West Indies Championship tournaments starting in December 2020 and December 2021.

CWI’s RFP document outlines the scope of the radio production and broadcast rights and invites potential partners to submit proposals that will cover both radio and online commentary across the Caribbean. In addition to these rights, successful partner(s) will benefit from the right to be “Official Radio Station(s) of the West Indies (cricket teams)” and potentially also the be the official radio stations for the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup and the West Indies Championship tournaments. It also provides the opportunity for partners to create additional content and programming around international and regional games.

CWI President and Chairman of the Communications and Commercial Affairs Committee, Ricky Skerritt, said “We respect the fact that local Caribbean Radio has played a significant role in the history of  West Indies cricket, creating some of the great sports commentary moments for West Indies fans to enjoy and remember. For some, radio remains the most affordable and accessible means to follow West Indies cricket whilst getting immersed into the action through the voices and stories from radio commentators. I commend all those commentators, journalists, and arm-chair enthusiasts who help keep the history, and ongoing story of West Indies cricket, alive via radio.”

Dominic Warne, Commercial and Marketing Director for CWI said, “We know how important live radio commentary is for fans to connect with the West Indies teams and CWI’s tournaments.  Although the broadcast communications market has changed dramatically over recent years, this RFP is a strong indicator of CWI’s commitment to keep local radio integrated into a modern and sustainable West Indies Cricket broadcast system. We are looking forward to receiving proposals which broaden the reach of radio commentary for avid fans and refresh its presentation to appeal to new followers of our wonderful game.”

Potential partners can access the RFP document from the www.windiescricket.com website, via the Cricket West Indies section of the website and the CWI corporate “News” section. This can be found by clicking here https://bit.ly/CWIRadioRFP.  The deadline for the submission of proposals to CWI is May 25, 2020.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have agreed to postpone the planned West Indies U19 tour of England, scheduled for August and September 2020 due to scheduling clashes.

With the West Indies U19 team being unavailable to tour England during the proposed window, CWI and the ECB have worked together to investigate all alternative scheduling options but unfortunately it has not been possible to find a time for the tour that would work for both Boards in relation to the respective domestic tournaments and player availability.

The scheduled programme had included one IT20, three ODIs and two Youth Tests against England U19s, which had been set to run between 16 August and 3 September 2020.

As the current environment makes it impractical to plan to host alternative opposition, the decision has had to be taken not to run a competitive England U19 programme this summer.

Jimmy Adams, CWI’s Director of Cricket, said: “CWI and the ECB have agreed to cancel a proposed U19 tour of the UK due to scheduling issues. The situation is an unfortunate one as we had planned for the tour to be the end of a two-year development cycle for this group of U19 players. This tour to the UK, added to the recent World Cup in January, and the tri-series that we hosted in Dec of last year would have given this cohort an excellent competitive component to cap their 2-year U19 program.

Adams added, “That said, we will continue to follow up on the cohort, especially those not contracted to franchises, through our Emerging Player program, which has so far facilitated many of our upcoming players who fall in the 19-23 category. Thankfully, while the tour to the UK will not proceeds this year, the ECB are committed to hosting our U19s at a mutually convenient time in the future.”

Mo Bobat, ECB Performance Director, said: “Cancelling the summer programme for our U19 side is not an easy decision to take, but with it not having been possible to identify a window for the tour that works for both Boards – and in the current climate – it is certainly the most appropriate step.

“Our young players benefit greatly from these competitive matches against their peers from around the world, not just in preparation for the biennial U19 World Cups, but also to prepare them for the rigours of international cricket.

“The squad learned a lot from their tri-series in Antigua in December 2019, so we look forward to welcoming the West Indians back to the UK in the future.”

Dear Cricket Lovers and Members of the West Indies Family,

As lovers of this remarkable sport called cricket, there is nothing we all enjoy more than getting outdoors and watching a great game; witnessing an enthralling battle between bat and ball and seeing our favorite players and teams rise to glory as we join each other in celebration. And if we cannot be there in person, we find every possible way to see or hear the broadcast.

However, today there is a new reality that we are now facing. There is no live cricket available, because all around the world we are in a new battle to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. As such, we all now need to join the same team as we unite in this global battle with each other, for each other. We must now couple our passion for cricket with our love for the health and safety of our family, friends, community, and ourselves.

As cricket fans, you have supported our West Indies players throughout the years, and now we ask you to offer your full support to members of our essential services and first responders. These valiant men and women have worked tirelessly in the face of very trying circumstances and great challenges. We have heard the stories of their heroic deeds, and watched as they stand on the medical front line to save lives and comfort the sick. They deserve the highest praise, respect and commendation.

To our players, who represent us so proudly on the field of play, I remind you that you are the true custodians of the game. Please do your best to be fit, healthy, and ready when you get the green light to return to play. I strongly believe that in the midst of the unprecedented stressful challenges that we are now facing, we can find opportunities to fine-tune and refocus our own attitudes towards cricket, our livelihoods, our relationships, and our lives.

I pray that we will all stay safe and secure and I ask that you follow the rules and regulations as issued by your local health authorities and law enforcement personnel – play your part for the team and be good role models for your communities. But before then, we must all play our role in being wise and prudent as we look after our loved ones and those in need.

The great game of cricket will certainly make a comeback – when that day will be, we cannot say – but now is the time for us all to unite in this Covid-19 fight.

Sincere regards,

Ricky Skerritt,