England’s behind-closed-doors summer against Windies and Pakistan ‘on tightrope’

England's proposed international summer behind closed doors is on a ‘tightrope’ with plenty of hoops still to jump through before they can be confident of play.

The West Indies are the first visitors due to arrive in the UK to play three Tests in July, before Ireland and Pakistan are hoped to follow.

And while both the Windies and Pakistan are hopeful of bringing extended squads to the UK to cope with the unique situation, there remains a number of issues to be resolved before everyone is ready to sign off on the tours, not least the full support of the UK Government.

“There is still a long way to go before this tour becomes a reality,” said West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave.

“It is a bit of a tightrope because there are a lot of people that need to be satisfied with what is being proposed and it is a process that would be no different if it was England coming here.”

It is understood that there is a broadly positive approach to the idea of the tour from the West Indies players with skipper Jason Holder saying: “Each player has to be comfortable in making the step.

“It has been made clear that if we are to hop on a plane to go over to England and play, then it must be safe.

“The only way that the tour will possibly go ahead is if everyone could be comfortable with the measures that the ECB are putting in place to roll the cricket out.”

So what might things look like for the players involved in the most unprecedented of summers?

Dates and venues are still to be confirmed but, on June 6, the West Indies players and support staff are due to be given a Covid-19 Test.

Assuming all results are negative, players will board charter flights on June 10 from their home islands to Antigua and take a chartered transatlantic flight to London Gatwick.

Having prepared for the World Cup at the Ageas Bowl, this would be the preferred ‘bio-secure’ venue for the West Indies to stay and train for four weeks ahead of the first Test at the same ground.

England players are due to meet up as a squad at Old Trafford on June 24, the second ‘bio secure’ venue set to host the second and third Tests.

The two international squads will be kept apart for as long as possible before the first Test when they will share facilities.

Both squads will then be given regular Covid 19 tests purchased by the ECB and in line with the tests given to NHS frontline staff.

Inter squad matches between England players are then scheduled to take place on June 29 at Old Trafford and West Indies at Ageas bowl.

The First Test between England the West Indies is set for July 8 and, from July 3, the squads will be based on site at Ageas Bowl with separate parts of the on-site hotel designated to each team.

The ground will be split into an inner zone for the players and officials and an outer zone for broadcasters, media and operational staff with no-one permitted to move between the two.

Potential international summer schedule

  • June 24 – England players to meet up as a squad at Old Trafford, the second 'bio secure' venue set to host the second and third Tests. The two international squads to be kept apart for as long as possible before the first Test when they will share facilities. Both squads to be given regular Covid 19 tests purchased by the ECB and in line with the tests given to NHS frontline staff.
  • June 29 – Inter squad matches between England players at Old Trafford and West Indies at Ageas bowl.
  • July 3rd – England and West Indies squad to be based on site at Ageas Bowl with separate parts of the on-site hotel designated to each team. The ground will be split into an inner zone for the players and officials and an outer zone for broadcasters, media and operational staff with no-one permitted to move between the two.
  • July 8th – England v West Indies 1st Test, Ageas Bowl

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