West Indies trio drop out of England tour due to coronavirus fears

Three West Indies players have decided against travelling to England for next month’s Test trip, which will go ahead behind closed doors at ‘biosecure’ venues because of coronavirus.

Batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer and fast bowling all-rounder Keemo Paul have been left out of a 25-man touring party comprising a 14-strong squad and 11 reserves, who will train alongside the main group and be available for selection if required.

A Cricket West Indies statement read: “Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul all declined the invitation to travel to England for the tour and CWI fully respects their decision to choose to do so.

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“As previously stated, CWI will not hold this decision against these players when considering future selection.”

West Indies' Darren Bravo: Not touring. Picture: PA

England announced on Tuesday that, subject to government clearance, the series will start at the Ageas Bowl on July 8 followed by two Tests at Emirates Old Trafford beginning on July 16 and July 24, respectively.

The West Indies team, which agreed in principle to take part in the series last week, will undergo Covid-19 tests in the next few days and are scheduled to fly to England on private charters, arriving on June 9.

When they arrive, they will be based at Manchester for quarantine and training for three weeks before heading to Southampton for the series opener.

Roger Harper, Cricket West Indies’ lead selector, said: “The new cricketing environment will take some getting used to. However, being in England and working together for four weeks before the first Test will give the squad the opportunity to get acclimatised and, hopefully, mentally and technically adjusted to the demands of the new environment.”

Middle-order batsman Nkrumah Bonner and fast bowler Chemar Holder, who is unrelated to captain Jason, are the uncapped players in the main squad.

Paceman Shannon Gabriel is among the reserves as he is working his way back to full fitness following an ankle injury last year.

Harper added: “I think we have a squad that will be very competitive. More than half of the squad were involved in the victorious Test series against England in the Caribbean last year.”

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