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West Indies cricket chiefs give approval for Test tour of England
West Indies Tour of England

West Indies cricket chiefs give approval for Test tour of England

Cricket West Indies have agreed to tour England where the team will be placed in a "bio-secure environment", although the players and staff have been told they will face a 50-percent pay cut owing to the financial constraints due to the coronavirus pandemic.

West Indies were originally scheduled to play three Tests against England in June but the tour has been pushed back to July at the earliest.

"The Cricket West Indies (CWI) board gave approval in principle for the proposed upcoming West Indies Test tour of England," the CWI statement read.

"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."

"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," it added.

The COVID-19 situation has negatively impacted several cricket boards, forcing some organisations to even temporarily lay off staff. Similarly, CWI has been compelled to reduce the salaries of players, staff and umpires across the region.

"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," said CWI president Ricky Skerritt.

"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."

Despite the readiness of CWI to tour England, some players remain wary of fully committing to the trip given the alarming rate of infection and deaths in the United Kingdom.

"There has been some nervousness from the players and certainly here in Antigua," CWI chief executive Johnny Grave had admitted to BBC Radio. "We've been very open and honest with them and sharing plans from the day we got them from the ECB."

"I think that's helped players understand what this tour might look like, and from all the players that I've spoken to, there's an eagerness to go to England and get some live cricket back on.

"Certainly we won't be coercing anyone to go and play. Safety is the number one priority for us and we fully respect any individual player who may not be comfortable to travel."