Three West Indies players decline Test cricket tour of England
Three players including the experienced batsman Darren Bravo have turned down places for the three-Test tour of England, Cricket West Indies (CWI) has confirmed.
Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul also opted to snub berths in the squad that will fly to England on 8 June for the games which start on 8 July at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, southern England.
That five day match will be followed by the second and third Tests at Old Trafford in north-western-England from 16 July. All the games will be held behind closed doors.
Hetmyer, 23, made his Test debut against Pakistan in April 2017 and has featured in 15 Tests since then while 22-year-old Paul is comparatively callow though only a year younger. He has played in only three Tests.
The pair, however, are not in the same stratosphere as Bravo who at 31 has navigated 54 Tests.
His guile was in ample evidence in Antigua last year when a half century over six hours helped the West Indies to seal a 2-1 series win over England.
“CWI fully respects their decision,” said a CWI statement on Wednesday. "As previously stated, CWI will not hold this decision against these players when considering future selection.”
The touring party will all be tested for Covid-19 before they leave and once in England will live, train and play in a "bio-secure" environment during the seven weeks of the tour.
Jason Holder will skipper the 14-man squad that features two newcomers in fast bowler Chemar Holder and middle-order batsman Nkrumah Bonner.
As the health protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, West Indies selectors have also named 11 reserve players who will travel to help prepare the Test squad and also provide back-up should injuries occur.
"The new cricketing environment will take some getting used to," said CWI’s chief selector Roger Harper.
"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."
Harper, a former West Indies international bowler, added: "I think we have a squad that will be very competitive."
More than half of the touring squad were involved in the 2019 victory over England.
“They will bring that experience, that knowledge and belief with them,” added Harper. “And marry it to the enthusiasm and vitality of the newcomers."
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