West Indies are not expected to face the psychological challenge of a complete bio-secure bubble on their tour of New Zealand starting next month, because of the efficient manner in which public health authorities in New Zealand have managed the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Caribbean side was subjected to stringent mitigation protocols on the tour of England last July where players were restricted to hotels based at the playing venues, with limited or no interaction with the general public.
However, while the pandemic was raging in the United Kingdom New Zealand remarkably has reported only 1,800 infections and 25 deaths, and there are currently only 39 active cases.
Convenor of selectors, Roger Harper, said while all cricket tours would now be guided by COVID-19 protocols as part of a new normal of the international game, New Zealand would provide some respite for players from the difficult mental grind of constant lockdown outside of cricket.
“This is the state of the world. There are a lot of people because of the situation who do not have an opportunity to work and I think this is the perspective we have to look at this from,” the former West Indies off-spinner stated.
“We have an opportunity to work, we have the opportunity to play something which I’d like to think they love doing. I know it’s challenging being away from home at this time being in a different environment but I think we have to look at things from the positive perspective and I think … we have to make adjustments.
“New Zealand is a little different to England in that they have managed to be in not a bad a place relative to the COVID-19 virus as most places around the world … so they (players) won’t be in a complete bubble so to speak.”
“Once the squad quarantines and they’re no infections and everything is fine, they’ll have the opportunity to move around freely so psychologically that should be a lot easier.”
West Indies will clash with the Black Caps in three Twenty20 Internationals and two Tests from November 27 to December 15, in their second tour in four months, following the resumption of international cricket.
The squad, which was this week finalised but yet to be announced, will leave the Caribbean on October 27 to facilitate mandatory quarantine and a training camp, in the buildup to the series which gets underway with a T20 International in Auckland.
According to Harper, arriving a month early in New Zealand would be key to the side’s preparations.