The West Indies are scheduled to play three Twenty20 (T20) Internationals and two Tests from November 27th to December 15th, and according to Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief selector, Roger Harper, an expanded squad of reserves will be included in keeping with the
new protocols amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“There’ll be a T20 International team and of course the Test team and as usual now. We’ll be taking some reserve players on tour which will serve to provide backup players if needed during the tour as well as provide practice players,” Harper told i95FM Sports. “What is likely to happen, because of scheduling, is the Test team is likely to go out first and have an early camp and some of the T20 players who are in the region will travel with that Test team and the T20 players who are involved in the IPL (Indian Premier League) will join the team later.”
The tour is the second one for West Indies, following their historic three Test series in England last July the first to be played in a biosecure environment due to COVID-19.
No spectators were allowed at matches and players were placed in an isolated bubble away from the general public for the duration of the tour. New Zealand has been one of the most successful nations in managing the pandemic with 1500 confirmed infections, only 41
active cases and 25 deaths. Despite the relatively low risk, Harper said players had been briefed on the protocols and would be given the option to decline selection.
“There was a briefing recently where the players were informed of what is taking place, what measures have been put in place, what protocols will obtain during the tour and when we look at finalizing the squad, we’ll discuss with them whether they are willing to tour or
not and get their position on that,” Harper explained. He added: “At this point, we’ve not had a definite indication from anyone that they’re not interested in touring.”
West Indies were forced to travel without left-handers Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer along with all-rounder Keemo Paul for the tour of England after the trio declined selection due to COVID-19 fears. The tour, however, was seen as a success for the new biosecure protocols and West Indies Women subsequently undertook a five-match T20 International series in England earlier this month.
West Indies will open the tour of New Zealand with the T20 series, the first match scheduled for Eden Park in Auckland under lights, with the last two set for Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on November 29th and 30th. Seddon Park in Hamilton will host the first Test starting December 3th with the historic Basin Reserve in Wellington the stage for the
second Test beginning December 11th. West Indies have not won a Test series on New Zealand soil in 25 years. Their last Test series win over the Black Caps was eight years
ago in the Caribbean.