England to play three Tests against West Indies from 8 July depending on government clearance

England to play three Tests against West Indies from 8 July depending on government clearance

The Test series, which is a part of World Test Championship, was initially slated to start from June 4.

Mark Wood and Ollie Pope of England celebrate
Mark Wood and Ollie Pope of England celebrate. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The COVID-19 pandemic has stunned the world since its outbreak as the novel coronavirus has led to the death of over 3.7 lakh individuals across the globe. Along with human existence, the pandemic has also taken a toll over sporting activities.

The international cricket scenario has been at a halt since the Australia-New Zealand series was called off in the wake of COVID-19 debacle. However, after a long wait, international cricket is set to mark its comeback as England are going to lock horns with West Indies in a three-match Test series in July.

The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is eager to host the Caribbean side and set the ball rolling for the resumption of cricket. The ECB has planned on hosting the Test matches on July 8, 16, and 24 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and Manchester’s Old Trafford. The ECB have shortlisted these two venues as they have on-site hotels and this will ensure the safety of players.

However, the series is still subject to the UK government’s approval in hosting these matches behind closed doors. The Test series, which is a part of World Test Championship, was initially slated to start from June 4 but was postponed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Test series will be hosted in a bio-secure environment

This will be the first international series to be played after almost three months. However, considering the current coronavirus situation across the globe, ECB has ensured that the series will be hosted in a bio-secure environment behind closed doors.

The West Indies side will board special charter flights to fly to the UK from the Caribbean. The West Indies squad will arrive almost one month before the series and isolate themselves. The announcement of  Test series will probably encourage many other boards to resume cricketing action.

The series will hold a great significance for the ECB, who were estimated to lose over 300 million pounds if no cricket would’ve taken place during the English summer.

“We can only estimate the total financial impact on the game, which will not be clear for some time, but by way of offering an indication of the potential scale of the loss to the game, losing an entire cricket season – which is not an outlandish scenario – will cost cricket in England and Wales well in excess of 300m,” ECB Cheif Executive Tom Harrison had said in April.