Windies chief casts doubt on behind closed doors series in England

‘We certainly won’t be forcing anyone to go’: West Indies chief casts doubt on three-match series played behind closed doors in England… as he insists ‘no one is going to risk their health’

  • Chief executive Johnny Grave has concerns about the series taking place
  • Conversations are ongoing between the medical staff from both boards 
  • A provisional starting date for the England v West Indies Test series is July 8 

Johnny Grave, the chief executive of the West Indies board, revealed to Sportsmail on Thursday night there are still several hoops to jump through before Jason Holder’s team would agree to take part in a three-match series against England behind closed doors.

Even approval from the British Government for the ECB to stage Test matches in bio-secure environments at the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford would not necessarily get the tour over the line.

‘We’d still need medical practitioners from the West Indies board to question and test the set-up,’ he said. ‘Then we’d need to have discussions with the players, and eventually we’d have to put a proposal to the board. We certainly won’t be forcing anyone to go.’

The ECB want Jason Holder’s team to take part in a three-match series behind closed doors

Conversations are ongoing between medical staff from the English and West Indian boards, though the next Zoom meeting between senior board members will not be until May 18.

And while Grave remains keen to help out the English game amid concerns over a £380million black hole in cricket’s finances, he is realistic about the chances of the series taking place. 

‘What happens if there’s another outbreak of the virus in the UK?’ he said. ‘Or four players from the same island in the Caribbean pick it up? Would we feel able to send a team?

‘It’s easy to sit in the UK and say it’s safe, but what if I’m from St Kitts and I’m worried that if I take the virus there it could leave thousands dead? It’s a very different mindset, and I wouldn’t want to prejudge anything.

The ECB plan to stage a Test match in a bio-secure environment such as at the Ageas Bowl

‘No one’s going to risk their health over this, and everyone is influenced by different opinions. 

‘At the moment, we’re very happy to assist and co-ordinate with what a potential series in England might look like, but it all hinges on the plans to get UK Government approval.’

Internal flights in the Caribbean remain out of action, but there is talk of allowing some international travel in and out of the region from next month.

A provisional starting date for the England v West Indies Test series is July 8.

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