England has flagged hosting West Indies for a three-test series in July to signal the re-emergence of international cricket amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The proposed series, subject to government clearance, is planned to start on July 8 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton later followed by Tests at Old Trafford in Manchester on July 16 and 24. Last week, West Indies agreed in principle to play and are scheduled to arrive in England on June 9 and will be based at Old Trafford for a three-week period of quarantine.
All three-Test series will take place behind closed doors, with officials and players staying at on-site hotels in bio-secure conditions. There will be quarantine zones and regular testing for anyone suspected of having contracted the coronavirus.
The series was originally planned between June 4-29 with games in London and Birmingham before being suspended due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director of events Steve Elworthy hoped that the series would ensue and they can deliver a safe environment for all stakeholders including players, officials, operational staff, venue staff, broadcasters, and media.
Former England batsman Jonathan Trott believed that players would be eager for the games played in empty stadiums.
England has been hit hard by the virus causing chaos for its congested summer sports plan with Wimbledon cancelled. England’s domestic cricket county season, which was scheduled to start on 12 April, has been postponed till at least August 1 with the ECB hoping that a shortened season can be salvaged.
Pushing ahead with international games is seen as imperative to avoid a financial hit with the ECB expecting a $300 mn loss of match day revenues, broadcast, and sponsorship income if a season was canceled.
Although there is still so much uncertainty, cricket fans are starting to get excited about the return of Test matches.