Showing exemplary courage, West Indies players have landed in England for the three-match Test series next month. The much-anticipated series, which will mark the resumption of international cricket, will be played behind closed doors. The games will take place at The Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.
England will host the Caribbean outfit at The Ageas Bowl from July 8 before the series switches to Old Trafford for the final two games of the series, from July 16 and July 24 respectively, with the stadiums selected as bio-secure venues in large part due to their on-site hotels.
The series was originally scheduled to take place in June before it was postponed due to the pandemic. The upcoming series will be the first international series since cricket was halted around the world in March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Is money the reason behind the tour?
At a time when most of the countries are not even close to starting the action in their own backyard, West Indies players have bravely decided to tour England which is one of the worst affected countries due to the pandemic. Well, it looks like money was a big factor behind the tour.
West Indies have received a £2.4 million loan from the ECB before agreeing to play the series. According to Daily Mail, cash-strapped Cricket West Indies (CWI) applied initially for emergency funding from the ICC in early April, following an offer from the world governing body to member countries as the Covid-19 pandemic began shutting down sport.
This is when the ECB stepped in to cover the claim amount — 50 per cent of the half-yearly distribution CWI were due to receive in July — when West Indies became frustrated at the length of time the emergency money was taking to come through.
Meanwhile, Johnny Grave, chief executive of CWI, rubbished talk of the cash being one of the biggest factors for the tour. He insisted that the board received the money even before discussion on the tour started.
“In early May when we received it, we weren’t even discussing a tour because the situation in the UK was not the state it is now,” he said.
“I can guarantee it’s not linked in any way, shape or form to our touring or not touring,” he added.
CWI is going through a financial crisis at the moment. Last month, it was also revealed CWI salaries would be cut by half for between three and six months. Match fees for series against Ireland and Sri Lanka between January and March were also paid months late.