The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Tuesday announced proposed dates for Test series against West Indies. In a statement, the ECB said England will play three Tests against West Indies in July, subject to UK government’s approval.
Ageas Bowl will host the first Test, it said, and Emirates Old Trafford will be the venue for the other two matches. Edgbaston has been selected as a contingency and training venue.
The behind-closed-doors series, which will take place in “bio-secure environments”, is slated to begin on 8 July.
England said the venues — the Aegas Bowl in Southampton and Old Trafford in Manchester — were chosen because they had hotels attached or nearby and could be turned into bio-secure environments, according to AP.
ECB said that the West Indies squad will arrive in the UK on 9 June and travel to Emirates Old Trafford for quarantining and training. This will be their base for a three-week period before moving to the Ageas Bowl for first Test.
ECB Director of Events, Steve Elworthy, said in a statement, “Our main objective is to deliver a safe environment for all stakeholders including players, match officials, operational staff, essential venue staff, broadcasters and media.
“We are in daily dialogue with Government and our medical team, who have been incredibly supportive during this period. These are our proposed dates and they remain subject to UK Government approval.”
BBC’s cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said there is a lot of detail still to be finalised but this is a big step.
The ICC has also issued guidelines for safe resumption of cricket. For international cricket, the ICC suggested a pre-match isolation training camp with health, temperature checks and Covid-19 testing — at least 14 days prior to travel. Sanitising personal equipment before and after use and providing players with clear guidance on the safe management of the ball are some of the other guidelines.
Players and umpires should maintain social distancing on the cricket field and that includes no handing over of players’ items (cap, towels, sunglasses, jumpers) to the umpire or teammates, it added.