Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt has stated that they will be sending the “best available” West Indies team once their Bangladesh tour of January 2021 is finalized. Keeping in view the current COVID-19 pandemic situation and having no intention of jeopardizing players’ health and safety, Skerritt expects the three-Test series to be cut down to two.
Speaking to Dhaka-based Maasranga TV, the CWI president said, “There has been an option to reduce from three to two Tests but it is not finalised yet. It will be finalised within the next few days. The problem is [that] we have to look at it from all perspectives, that of Covid-19, scheduling and cost. These days, the pressures that Covid has brought to world cricket are significant in terms of revenue. We want to come to Bangladesh because we respect the relationship and the bilateral agreements that we have.”
As per the ICC’s Future Tour Programme, West Indies was supposed to tour Bangladesh for three ODIs, three Tests, and two T20Is.
West Indies and Bangladesh have strong relations and both of the countries look forward to the face-off. Bangladesh will be sincerely hoping the plan of the bilateral series to come to fruition as one of the Full Member teams of ICC hasn’t played any international games since March 2020. Given this, the words of the CWI president comes as a ray of hope for the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).
“I just want to assure you that we will always send the best available team to any tour that we undertake, including Bangladesh. We believe a tour to Bangladesh is always a challenging tour because it is an environment that’s very different to our own conditions. But we have always done well in Bangladesh. Our players enjoy playing against Bangladesh. At the moment we are fairly evenly matched and it is always a good series between West Indies and Bangladesh. We are doing everything we can to participate in tours abroad and at home. The Covid-19 pandemic is making it extremely difficult to implement our plans,” he added.
BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury had informed about CWI’s request to reduce the number of Tests last week. “It is not final yet. The West Indies cricket board has requested us, as staying inside bio-bubble for a long time is tough for players. They requested to consider if it is possible to shorten the duration of the series. In that case, one of the options is to reduce one Test match. We are still discussing the issues, nothing is finalized yet,” Chowdhary said.
The CWI expects that strict safety measures are taken during the whole affair and the laid out protocols are sincerely followed, stating which Skerritt said, “We want to be sure that the protocols established in Bangladesh meet the requirement that we have established so far in the various tours we have been on. There are case studies to benchmark from. This is not going to be the first overseas tour. As you know, we did the first overseas tour to England.”
He believes that if Bangladesh is able to maintain similar standards, and once they have verified it, there is no reason to be concerned.