Rigorous COVID-19 Testing Schedule for West Indies Players

John Campbell (left) chats with assistant West Indies coach Monty Desai on arrival. Photo via: WindiesCricket/Twitter

West Indies’ Test and one-day contingent will be subjected to a robust testing regime after they arrived in Bangladesh on Sunday for their five-week series, becoming the first international side to tour Bangladesh since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Caribbean side is scheduled to face the hosts in three One-Day Internationals and two Tests from January 20 to February 15 but will be without ten first-choice players who declined selection because of fears over the COVID environment in the country.

Bangladesh’s overall infection tally stands at 522,453 and the death toll at 7,781.

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The Bangladesh Cricket Board has opted to engage in rigorous testing of the traveling party, with testing taking place prior to and during both the one-day and Test series.

West Indies were expected to be tested on arrival and again following three days of isolation in their hotel rooms. Once tests return negative, players will be allowed to begin training.

After a week, players will be tested a third time and yet again prior to the one-day series, with testing continuing prior to and during the two-Test series from February 3-15.

Further, the BCB confirmed that all hotel and support staff along with caterers, involved with West Indies, will also be tested.

“We will be strict about the entire tour. The biggest thing is that there will be a number of tests,” said BCB spokesman Jalal Yunus.

“All the floor attendants at the hotel and catering staff have been tested, and the same applies for any service provider including net bowlers and the board’s photographer.”

Fast bowling all-rounder Romario Shepherd tested positive in Guyana before the squad departed the Caribbean and had to be replaced by pacer Keon Harding.

Test captain Jason Holder and white ball skipper, Kieron Pollard, were among the ten opting out of the tour, forcing selectors to include a plethora of uncapped players in both formats.

Following a one-day warm-up on January 18 at the National Sports Institute on the fringes of Dhaka, West Indies will face the hosts in the opening two One-Day Internationals at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka before heading to Chattogram for the third match on January 25.

West Indies then play a four-day warm-up at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chattogram starting January 28 before the opening Test bowls off six days later at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in the same city.

The final Test gets underway on February 11 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.