LONDON – West Indies fast bowling legend, Courtney Walsh, has joined the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots coaching staff ahead of this month’s start of the Caribbean Premier League, after head coach Simon Helmot tested positive for COVID-19.
Noted cricket website, Cricinfo, reported that Australian Helmot was preparing to travel to the Caribbean to assume duties for the T20 franchise tournament being staged in Trinidad, when he obtained the unexpected results.
“I tested positive five hours before I was to fly out, and I’m shattered that I won’t be able to be part of Patriots this season,” Helmot was quoted as saying.
“I was asymptomatic and my second test has come back negative, but I’m still in home isolation until the department of health and human services give me a green signal.”
He added: “Victoria is currently in stage four of lockdown after a recent spike in cases. Because of my quarantine restrictions, I wouldn’t have been able to make it in time for the season owing to the quarantine protocols.
“I’m incredibly thankful to Mahesh Ramani, the franchise owner, and the CPL team of Pete Russell, Tom Moody and the others for working incredibly hard behind the scenes to put it together.”
Helmot’s absence is a double blow for Patriots with assistant coach Malolan Rangarajan also set to miss the CPL campaign because of obligations to the Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore.
As a result, New Zealander Mark O’Donnell will join Walsh for Patriots’ outing in the tournament which runs from August 18 to September 10.
Walsh, a former Test captain, holds the record for the most wickets by a West Indies bowler with 519 scalps.
Players and officials are expected to begin arriving in Trinidad by chartered flights on Monday for the CPL tournament which will be played behind closed doors in a bio-secure environment because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All persons were scheduled to be tested before departure and then again on arrival, before undergoing a two week quarantine.