Grave forecasts possible time crunch with England tour
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief executive, Johnny Grave, has described a “best-case scenario” for the Test tour of England which would see the regional side playing in July instead of June, having a single warm-up match before the start of the series and playing back-to-back Tests.
The June 4-25 three-Test series is currently in doubt following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which has halted all international cricket and caused severe disruption across the global sporting calendar.
Only recently, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) pushed the start of its domestic and international itinerary back to the end of May, further complicating the staging of the series against the Windies.
Grave acknowledged there would need to be major adjustments if the series was to go ahead as planned.
“I think probably the best-case scenario for us, although we’ve not discussed it yet, is we would have one four-day game leading into what would almost certainly be back-to-back Test matches, starting Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and possibly look to play those in July and shift our summer accordingly,” Grave explained.
“The easiest matches for us to rearrange would be the six games against New Zealand. We are blessed that we can host cricket any time of year.”
Windies are already down to host New Zealand in three Twenty20 (T20) Internationals and three One-Day Internationals (ODI) from July 8-19, meaning that series would also have to be shifted.
Also, the Caribbean side is scheduled to welcome South Africa for two Tests and five T20 Internationals from July 15 to August 16, meaning that any amendments to the England itinerary would continue to spark a ripple effect.
Grave said CWI would hold discussions with the ECB following Easter in order to get a clearer picture of the options available.
“We’ve agreed with the ECB we’ll sit down after Easter to see how the world looks and when we think we can get that series on,” Grave said.
“The only good thing is the three venues – Oval, Edgabston and Lord’s – are prepared for international cricket at a moment’s notice, therefore in a relatively short period of time we could prepare for those matches.
“We would certainly want to have a minimum preparation period for our players, to do themselves justice as we look to defend the Wisden Trophy.
“But at the same time it’s hugely important for the ECB to get those games on. They are in a new broadcast deal with Sky so they’re very keen to get that series on to keep their broadcast revenues flowing.”