LONDON, – West Indies arrived in London early Tuesday for their historic “bio-secure” three-Test series against England, becoming the first international team to visit the United Kingdom in nearly four months since the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Caribbean side touched down by private charter from Antigua at 7:45 am (2:45 am Eastern Caribbean time) and immediately travelled to Old Trafford in Manchester, where they will undergo further COVID-19 testing and a two-week quarantine.
While in quarantine, the 25-man group will also intensify training for the series, the first one to be played since the global cessation of cricket due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
West Indies are travelling with a 14-man Test squad and 11 reserves to facilitate injury replacements and warm-up matches among themselves.
The series will be played behind closed doors starting at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on July 8, with the final two Tests carded for Old Trafford in Manchester.
Players will be in isolation for the seven-week duration of the tour and will follow strict social distancing and sanitisation protocols throughout.
Former head coach Floyd Reifer, who replaces Indian Monty Desai as batting coach for this tour, said he was comfortable with the COVID-19 measures implemented for the series by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
“I have no concerns, I’m a positive person,” said Reifer, who oversaw the Windies World Cup campaign here last year.
“I just believe once we adhere to the protocols – washing your hands and doing all the necessary things you’ve been hearing for the last six months – then everything will be ok.”
The UK has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19, recording nearly 290 000 infections and over 40 000 deaths.
Sport was one of the sectors hit by the subsequent government-enforced shutdown and it forced the ECB to postpone its domestic programme.
The ECB hope the West Indies tour will kick start its summer schedule, with Pakistan already confirmed to follow in August.
West Indies are holders of the coveted Wisden Trophy after stunning their higher-ranked opponents in a three-Test series in the Caribbean last year.
SQUAD – Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer and Kemar Roach.
RESERVES – Sunil Ambris, Joshua DaSilva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas and Jomel Warrican.