International cricket resumes with England vs WI test series after 116 days

International cricket will resume today with England vs West Indies test series after 116 days of suspension of play to control the spread of novel coronavirus. England and West Indies are scheduled to play a three-match test series while taking adequate precautions against the virus. 

International cricket was suspended in March due to coronavirus outbreak. In fact, all kinds of sports were suspended across the world to combat the virus and stop its transmission. 

The last international cricket match was played on March 13 between Austalia and New Zealand behind closed doors. However, their remaining two ODIs were cancelled due to coronavirus.

Key highlights 

•  India vs South Africa series, which was initially planned to be held behind closed doors with no audiece was cancelled due to the rapid spread of COVID in India. The South African team that had already arrived in India was sent back with full precautions. 

•  Along with cricket, other sports had also gotten suspended across the world including badminton and football tournaments such as La Liga and Premier League.

•  While it looked as if it will take a long time for sports to come back, but slowly different sports began preparing their comeback with due precautions.

•  German football league Bundesliga was the world’s first major football tournament to resume psot COVID-19. The organisers of the tournament decided to go ahead with the matches with no live audience and keeping all protocols in check. 

•  Other major football leageus including La Liga and Premier also made a comeback across the globe.

•  Formula One also resumed its season with the Austrian Grand Prix last week.

England vs West Indies Test Series amid COVID

•  The first Test between England and West Indies will get underway from 3:30 PM IST at the Ageas Bowl cricket ground. The England vs West Indies test series will be the first international cricket series to be played post COVID lockdown. 

•  The England vs West Indies series will be played behind closed doors at the Ageas Bowl cricket ground in Southampton and the Old Trafford in Manchester.

📍 The Ageas Bowl, Southampton 🏟️

Waiting for international cricket to resume 😍 pic.twitter.com/0Xw87CMGvw

— ICC (@ICC) July 8, 2020

•  The test series will be the first one to be played without any crowds in the 143-year long history of Test cricket.

•  Following its series against West Indies, England will also face off against Ireland in three ODIs and against Pakistan in three ODIs and three T20Is.

England vs West Indies schedule:

First Test: July 8-12 at Ageas Bowl, Southampton 

Second Test: July 16-20 at Old Trafford, Manchester

Third Test: July 24-28 at Old Trafford, Manchester

England vs West Test Squad

England's squad: Ben Stokes (captain), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.


West Indies squad: Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, and Kemar Roach.

Impact 

The England vs West Indies test series will set an example of how cricket will be played in the future amid COVID virus. The series will be closely followed by other nations and their cricket boards who will be looking to see how cricket series can be scheduled in their home grounds in the current scenario.

Background

The West Indies national cricket team had arrived in the United Kingdom in mid-June and they were required to quarantine themselves fro 14 days in Manchester. For the entire tour, the two teams will train and play in a ‘bio-secure’ environment, as a part of the comprehensive medical plans to ensure player and staff safety. The bio-secure protocols will, however, restrict the movement of players and staff in and out of the venues. Both the sides played intra-squad practice matches to get some cricketing form back.

While England played their practice match in Southampton, Windies played theirs at Manchester. While the WI team is led by Jason Holder, England will be captained by Ben Stokes in the first test, as their regular skipper Joe Root had to leave the bio-secure bubble to attend the birth of his second child.

The ICC in its latest safety precautions had announced some changes in the playing conditions including ban on use of salive to shine the ball and allowing repacements of players displaying COVID-19 symptoms during the test match. The ICC also allowed additional DRS review for each team in each innings of a match, as there may be less experienced umpires on duty. 

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