Three West Indies players turned down the opportunity to travel for a cricket tour to England that will be played in bio-secure environments amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul “all declined the invitation” to join the squad, Cricket West Indies said Wednesday.
A touring party of 14 players and 11 reserves will travel a month in advance of the first test, which starts in Southampton on July 8, in order to quarantine and begin training. There will be strict COVID-19 testing protocols in place, starting before the players fly out.
CWI said it “fully respects” the players’ decision to reject a call-up.
“CWI will not hold this decision against these players when considering future selection,” the governing body said.
The reserve players will travel in case of injury or unavailability, with protocols restricting movement in and out of the bio-secure venues.
“The new cricketing environment will take some getting used to,” said Roger Harper, the West Indies’ chief selector. “However, being in England and working together for four weeks before the first test will give the squad the opportunity to get acclimatized and, hopefully, mentally and technically adjusted to the demands of the new environment.
“Playing in July could be a blessing as the weather is likely to be warmer which will allow the squad more of an opportunity to play its best cricket.”
The second and third tests will be played in Manchester, starting July 16 and July 24.
The 31-year-old Bravo, who has made 54 test appearances, is the most experienced of the three players to reject the chance to tour. Hetmyer, 23, would likely have started in the team while the 22-year-old Paul is an allrounder with three test caps.
There are two newcomers to the test squad: middle-order batsman Nkrumah Bonner and fast bowler Chemar Holder.