July 9, 2021

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West Indies CEO ‘increasingly confident’ England tour will happen

West Indies are on the verge of embarking on an unprecedented journey – filled with challenges and unknowns, most of them exterior the sphere of play. But it’s a threat value taking, feels Johnny Grave, the Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief govt. Grave, who has been busy sorting the danger evaluation along with his counterparts on the ECB over the previous six weeks, is optimistic West Indies will fly round June Eight for the three-Check sequence, which is prone to start on July 8.

In a chat with ESPNcricinfo, Grave talks in regards to the varied elements each boards together with their workforce managements and medical groups have thought of minutely earlier than the ultimate choice is made subsequent week.

How shut are West Indies from taking the flight to England?
We’re within the last levels of discussions with the ECB and they’re within the last levels of finalising their plans with the intention to get the UK authorities and ECB board help. We expect to get formal provide to tour England in all probability by the tip of the month in order that we will get our board’s approval and the gamers can probably go away the area [the Caribbean] in early June.

We heard that June 10 is when West Indies will go away for the tour. Is that right?
We wish 4 weeks earlier than the primary Check to organize our workforce so we’re presently planning on leaving the week beginning June 8.

So what are the Check match dates?
The present plan we’re working to has the three Exams beginning on July 8, July 16 and July 24. As for the venues, we consider it could possibly be the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Previous Trafford, however we’ve not had that formally confirmed but.

What number of gamers would journey to the UK?
The working plan entails taking a 25-player squad to the UK. That will comprise the official Check squad of 15 gamers and 10 reserves.

Every week or so again you had expressed caution, suggesting there was an extended method to go earlier than the tour was on. What has modified?
What has modified is the ECB have gotten extra assured that they have a strong and protected plan to take care of cricket in a biosecure atmosphere behind closed doorways. Our medical workforce are getting extra assured and comfy with these plans.

Our gamers and help workers who we now have met with [on conference calls] are starting to grasp what a seven-week tour behind closed doorways would possibly appear to be. And the operations workforce are getting the logistics collectively for flying everybody from throughout the Caribbean to in all probability Antigua to then depart to the UK on a personal workforce constitution. So sure, good progress is being made and we’re getting nearer to that last plan for our [CWI] board to successfully log out on the tour and ask the selectors to decide on the squad and the gamers to verify their participation.

ALSO READ: Holder voices financial concerns as WI contemplate England tour

Are you able to discuss that plan of assembling gamers and flying out to the UK?
Successfully we wish to carry everybody to in all probability Antigua and that is primarily as a result of the regional airline LIAT have all their plane presently based mostly right here so it’s simpler for them to ship planes to the islands to come back again to this central hub. So we’d look to convene gamers right here by late afternoon, and they might get on a constitution flight to the UK instantly after that. We do not need gamers to have to remain in a single day wherever within the Caribbean. We wish them to be examined about three-four days earlier than departure date and topic to getting a damaging take a look at outcome, they might be chartered into Antigua after which chartered on one plane to the UK.

And as soon as they land within the UK?
They’d then be transported to their quarantine and coaching venue the place they might spend about three weeks or so throughout which they’ll prepare.

Are you able to elaborate on the testing course of?
To verify we’re not taking testing kits away from anybody within the Caribbean we’re going to take a look at gamers and help workers privately. That additionally provides a consistency of outcomes of utilizing the identical lab for the assessments. Everybody would go and get examined of their native nation, all these assessments can be despatched to Florida and the outcomes would come out inside – hopefully – 48 hours.

As quickly as our board approves the ECB last plan we’d successfully choose the squad and ask the ECB to e book the constitution airplane. About 4 days earlier than the constitution airplane leaves for the UK, everybody would get examined.

What occurs if somebody assessments constructive as soon as they’re in England?
If somebody assessments constructive at any stage within the tour they might be faraway from the principle squad and might be positioned into isolation throughout the biosecure atmosphere and might be handled by the workforce physician together with the opposite on-site medical help workers. Ought to any participant have extra critical signs, they are going to be handled in hospital at pre-arranged amenities.

ALSO READ: England bowlers return to training

What occurs if a participant contaminated is taking part in a match?
One of many issues that is being mentioned is that if a participant assessments constructive throughout a match, whether or not then, much like a concussion substitute, the ICC would change the laws to permit a alternative participant to take the contaminated individual’s place. There may be an ICC chief govt committee assembly in early June the place I perceive these modifications to the laws or legal guidelines on the again of Covid-19 can be mentioned and agreed following suggestions from the ICC Cricket Committee who not too long ago met.

Was this level mentioned throughout the calls between ECB and CWI groups?
Sure, it has been. The Caribbean is sort of Covid-19 free. Nevertheless, they might have been examined previous to departure. They’re then on non-public charters throughout the Caribbean, then a personal constitution to the UK. After which they enter a biosecure bubble the place apart from them and the folks taking care of them – groundstaff, catering and lodge workers – no-one else is allowed. Everybody else in that safe bubble has been examined. So the chance of coming into contact with somebody who’s Covid-19 constructive could be very, very low. And it’s on that foundation, and due to the robustness of the biosecure atmosphere and the plans that our medical individuals are saying to us it’s a protected atmosphere. So the possibilities of somebody catching Covid-19 are very, very small.

The gamers can be in a really, very safe [and] very, very remoted atmosphere for the primary two weeks in quarantine, after which once they transfer into the biosecure Check venues everybody that they arrive into contact [with] can be in a restricted bubble, due to this fact not in a position to go away, and all of them would have been examined previous to coming into that atmosphere and would proceed to bear random testing while they’re there.

You had additionally beforehand talked about that West Indies gamers’ mindset can be very nervous going to the UK. Has that apprehension remained throughout your newest talks?
There may be [still] participant and help workers apprehension. There may be apprehension about leaving their households for seven weeks. There may be apprehension about shifting right into a biosecure cricket floor for the primary time. There may be apprehension about travelling on planes and going to the UK, which has had so many circumstances.

[There is] additionally some apprehension round getting again to the Caribbean round what the quarantine necessities could also be of their house international locations. It’s such a dynamic state of affairs, however we hope that in the event that they had been examined previous to their departure of the UK and in the event that they want be examined once more once they come again to the Caribbean that by late July, they would not need to do any quarantine again right here. However clearly, every Caribbean nation could have totally different guidelines and restrictions so we will not make certain at this stage. So there’s some worry and apprehension, not nearly leaving the Caribbean to go on the tour but in addition getting again house to be reunited with their family members.

Not too long ago Jason Holder, West Indies Check captain, likened the Caribbean participant’s plight to a frontline worker who has to go to hospital each day. Holder felt the longer gamers keep away, the higher the financial influence. Do you agree with him and can the financial facet play a job within the tour happening?
Jason is correct. Because the economies of the world begin to open up once more and folks begin returning to their locations of labor folks will little question really feel a bit nervous and anxious and the circumstances of their places of work and workplaces will in all probability be a bit totally different too. Cricketers are due to this fact no totally different, they’re getting again to work. What we now have to do as their employers is be certain that their work atmosphere is as protected because it probably will be.

So no participant has expressed any concern then?
Gamers have considerations, however actually I’ve had no suggestions {that a} participant has stated, based mostly on what we all know now and what we now have shared, that they will not tour. No-one has immediately come out and stated they will not tour, however we’ve not formally requested them but.

Financially CWI has been struggling for a very long time. West India are additionally taking a threat by agreeing to tour. Did a thought that we’ll skip because the dangers are too excessive move your thoughts?
Not from a monetary standpoint. Our focus has very a lot been on ensuring that it’s protected for our gamers firstly after which whether it is fulfilling the obligations of the FTP which we signed up and dedicated to. If we had been going to need to pay for the prices of all of the mitigating elements then the tour would not be on. If we needed to pay for the extra prices of chartering planes or taking a further 10 members of the squad with the intention to put together on our personal then this tour would not go forward.

The way in which the FTP is structured, we’re accountable because the touring workforce for our participant match charges and allowances in addition to our journey prices to the UK. All different prices for the tour can be picked up by the ECB as they preserve all of the income. As a result of nature of the truth that we can’t fly commercially both throughout the Caribbean to 1 fastened level of departure or throughout the Atlantic, the constitution flights and every other extra or distinctive prices that we’d incur on this tour can be met by the ECB.

So the tour is then going to occur?
From the place we sit in the mean time, based mostly on the knowledge we now have, based mostly on the truth that each day there are much less and fewer circumstances within the UK everyone seems to be getting more and more assured that the tour will occur in some unspecified time in the future. Our board assembly is on Might 28. If the tour has to happen, by the beginning of June we would wish to have the [CWI] board approval and help by then with the intention to get the constitution flight logistics in place and choose the gamers.

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