DHAKA, Bangladesh – The West Indies’ tour of Bangladesh has been thrown into turmoil after leg-spinning all-rounder Hayden Walsh jr tested positive for COVID-19, less than a week before the start of the three-match one-day series.
Along with all members of the West Indies contingent, the 28-year-old Walsh tested negative before departing the Caribbean last week and again on arrival in the Asian country last Sunday.
However, his second test on Wednesday returned positive and another test subsequently carried out today verified the positive result.
Walsh, who is asymptomatic, will now enter a period of self-isolation and has been ruled out of the one-day series starting next Wednesday.
He is the first West Indies player to test positive for the novel coronavirus while on tour, since international cricket resumed last July following a lockdown.
West Indies toured England for three Tests in July and then travelled to New Zealand last November and December for three Twenty20 Internationals and two Tests.
Both tours were safely executed within the bio-secure bubble arrangement.
A Cricket West Indies statement said today the squad had been isolating in their respective rooms since their arrival and therefore had no contact with Walsh.
“The West Indies touring squad has been in individual isolation since arriving in Bangladesh and so there has been no contact between squad members since arrival,” CWI said.
“In accordance with the established medical protocols, Walsh remained isolated from the West Indies squad and is now under the care and supervision of the team physician, Dr Praimanand Singh.”
The release added: “All other members of the West Indies touring squad returned second negative COVID-19 tests, after undergoing four tests within the last 11 days.”
Walsh will have to first return two negative tests before being released from isolation.
With 10 One-Day Internationals under his belt, Walsh is one of only six players on the 15-man squad with ODI experience, after several first choice players opted out of the January 20 to February 15 tour due to COVID-19 concerns.
The withdrawals, headlined by white ball skipper Kieron Pollard and Test captain Jason Holder, forced selectors to pick a second string squad for the tour.
COVID-19 also ruled fast bowling all-rounder Romario Shepherd out of the series, but the highly promising Guyanese tested positive before departure from the Caribbean.
Walsh’s positive test will heighten concerns over the tour for which 10 leading players declined selection owing to their fears over the situation in the country.
Bangladesh is hosting its first ever tour since the COVID-19 outbreak last year, with CWI agreeing to the series only after Dr Akshai Mansingh, a member of its medical advisory committee, toured the country last November to review the health protocols and facilities.
He said the protocols were as “good an arrangement as you can have anywhere in the world”.
West Indies players union, WIPA, also gave a thumbs up to the tour, after extensive discussions with CWI.
Bangladesh on Thursday reported 813 new cases of the virus, along with 16 more deaths, taking the overall infection tally to 525 723.
The death toll stands at 7 849. (CMC)
West Indies full tour schedule:
• January 18: One-day warm-up match, BKSP, Savar
• January 20 1st ODI, SBNCS, Dhaka
• January 22: 2nd ODI, SBNCS, Dhaka
• January 25: 3rd ODI, ZACS, Chattogram
• January 28-31: Four-day warm-up, M.A. Aziz Stadium, Chattogram
• February 3-7: 1st Test Match, ZACS, Chattogram
• February 11-15: 2nd Test Match, SBNCS, Dhaka