For more than two months, the world has been without any sporting action owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The last international cricket match played was between Australia and New Zealand at the empty MCG stadium. Since then, the series was called off, so was South Africa's tour of India for an ODI series, and IPL 2020 got suspended indefinitely. But with circumstances improving in some parts of the world, international actions have started being chalked out with West Indies tour of England being the most likely to the curtain-raiser.
Johnny Graves, the chief executive of Cricket West Indies, who has been constantly in touch with the England and Wales Cricket Board, assessing the risk factors, admitted that he has been growing increasingly confident of the tour happening this summer.
"From where we sit at the moment, based on the information we have, based on the fact that every day there are less and less cases in the UK everyone is getting increasingly confident that the tour will happen at some point. Our board meeting is on May 28. If the tour has to take place, by the start of June we would need to have the [CWI] board approval and support by then in order to get the charter flight logistics in place and select the players," he told ESPNCricinfo.
Graves revealed that the a 25-member squad of which 15 will be part of official series and 10 will serve as reserves, plans to leave on the week starting June 8, complete the quarantine period, get some match practice before the three-Test series which are on July 8, July 16 and July 24. "As for the venues, we believe it could be the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford, but we haven't had that formally confirmed yet," he added.
It was only a week or so back that Graves had expressed a few concerns pertaining to the tour, but admitted that ECB's confidence and assurance of providing a bio-secure environment during the tour have made him comfortable with the plans.
"What has changed is the ECB have got more confident that they've got a robust and safe plan to deal with cricket in a biosecure environment behind closed doors. Our medical team are getting more confident and comfortable with those plans.
Our players and support staff who we have met with [on conference calls] are beginning to understand what a seven-week tour behind closed doors might look like. And the operations team are getting the logistics together for flying everyone from across the Caribbean to probably Antigua to then depart to the UK on a private team charter. So yes, good progress is being made and we are getting closer to that final plan for our [CWI] board to effectively sign off on the tour and ask the selectors to choose the squad and the players to confirm their participation."
The players are likely to be tested four to five days before the journey and only after being subjected to a negative result will they will be allowed to leave for the UK.