Longstanding member of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Roland Butcher says once the British health authorities give their approval, the West Indies tour to England should take place.
While Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are expected to make an announcement on Thursday as to whether the three-match Test series postponed from June 4 to 29 will take place, a BCA source who spoke on condition of anonymity told Barbados TODAY that several measures have already been put in place that suggest the tour is on.
According to the source, the Tests will be played from July 8 to 28 at the Ageas Bowl (the Hampshire Bowl) in Hampshire and at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester because hotels are located at both grounds which will provide the bio-secure environment to protect the team while they are in the United Kingdom.
The source explained that with over 36, 793 people dying from COVID-19 in Britain, the members of the squad will be confined to hotels at the grounds and anyone who leaves the environs of the venues will be sent home. He said a special cook would be on location to cook various West Indian dishes for the team.
“Once the British health experts give the go ahead for the tour to happen, I have no difficulty with the West Indies taking part and support it. The players and officials of both teams will be much safer than the rest of the population in England and the people in the Caribbean, because of the stringent restrictions that will be placed on them,” said Butcher, who played three Tests and One Day International matches for England between 1980 and 1981.
He admitted to being uneasy about the type of training the players selected for the tour would have received during the lockdown throughout the region because of the deadly pandemic.
“My only concern is the level of training that our players have been doing during the lockdown in their respective countries. We will find that out very soon, since the touted travel date for the team is early June which is just around the corner. We will have to adjust to English conditions very quickly,” Butcher told Barbados TODAY.
Butcher a former Barbados player in the 1970s and currently a selector of the national men’s team also said that opener Kraigg Brathwaite should be included in the squad to England, even though the obdurate batsman has a highest score of 49 in his last 12 Test innings and had a modest regional first-class season.
“Kraigg should be selected if the tour goes ahead. He may have had a lean time over the last year but his record in English conditions places him ahead of the over candidates. Lest we forget, that in the Test match at Headingley which the West Indies won and Shai Hope scored centuries in both innings, Brathwaite came within five runs of achieving the same feat. Selectors have to take into consideration horses for courses,” Butcher said.