Three Test matches, 20 days, 2 venues, and a bio-secure environment – international cricket is finally set to make a comeback, 4 months after nearly every sports event was canceled due to the pandemic.
England is leading the way and bringing international cricket back this July, with a 3-match Test series against the West Indies. But with nearly 3 lakh cases and almost 2,000 new positive cases every day, how is the England Cricket Board planning to pull off this series?
The series opener will be at the Rose Bowl starting 8th July 2020. Then the teams will move to Old Trafford which will host the second and final fixtures starting 16th and 24th July.
While the Test series itself lasts just 3 weeks, the West Indies team will be in the country for a total of 7 weeks, including an entire month before the series opener. Jason Holder’s squad is, in fact, already in the UK and is undergoing regular testing. They will quarantine themselves and then train before moving to the Rose Bowl one week before the first Test. The West Indies have named a 14-man squad along with 11 reserved players while England has named a 30-man squad.
Wondering how England is planning to pull off this Series? While England has managed to flatten the curve and the worst seems to be behind them, they still do have nearly 2,000 new cases every day. The lockdown has still not been fully eased and life is far from back to normal. ‘Biosecure’ is the word being used for the pretty expansive plans the board has put together for the safety and security of the players and all others involved in the series. A biosecure bubble is going to be created around everyone, and once they enter – after undergoing COVID-19 tests – they can only exit once the series is over. There will, thus, be no dinner outings or interactions with fans, just hotel-practice-hotel-match. The two venues that have been selected for the series – Rose Bowl and Old Trafford – have been picked carefully as both have hotels on-site or nearby and will help eliminate the risk of exposure to anyone outside the bubble. All matches, of course, will be played behind closed doors and the entire series is still subject to the UK Government’s clearance.
Apart from this upcoming series, even Pakistan is looking forward to a tour to England in late July, which could be followed by Zimbabwe’s tour to Australia. The ICC is also scheduled to hold a meeting in mid-July to decide the fate of the T20 World Cup.
Let us all hope that this pandemic ends soon and we get to see our favorite cricketers in action again. You can still enjoy domestic cricket action from Europe and the Caribbean nations, as well as lots of football action, on Howzat and win real cash every day!