Sun | Jan 24, 2021

Windies set for rigorous COVID-19 testing

Published:Tuesday | January 12, 2021 | 12:13 AM
West Indies cricket team in a huddle during a training session at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, on Monday, July 20, 2020.
West Indies cricket team in a huddle during a training session at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, on Monday, July 20, 2020.

DHAKA, Bangladesh (CMC):

West Indies’ Test and One-Day International (ODI) contingent will be subjected to a robust testing regime after they arrived here 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 ODIs and two Tests from January 20 to February 15, but will be without 10 first-choice players who declined selection because of fears over the virus in the country.

Health authorities here reported 849 new infections yesterday, and 22 more deaths. The overall infection tally stands at 523,302 and the death toll at 7,803.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has opted to engage in rigorous testing of the travelling party, with testing taking place prior to and during both the ODI and Test series.

West Indies were expected to be tested on arrival and again after 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 ODI 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, as well as 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,” BCB spokesman Jalal Yunus said.

EVERYONE IS TESTED

“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 10 opting out of the tour, forcing selectors to include a plethora of uncapped players in both formats.

After an ODI 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 ODIs 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.