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CWI willing to send ‘best available’ West Indies team to Bangladesh in January 2021

Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt has given Bangladesh hope that they will be touring the country in January 2021 with the “best available” West Indies team, also hinting that the three-Test series might be reduced to two keeping the players’ requirements in mind.

According to the ICC’s Future Tours Programme, the tour was slotted for January 2021 featuring three Tests, three ODIs and two T20Is, with the Tests part of the World Test Championship. By the time this month ends, Bangladesh will be among the few Full Member teams to have not played international cricket since March.

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“There has been an option to reduce from three to two Tests but it is not finalised yet,” Skerritt told the Dhaka-based Maasranga TV. “It will be finalised within the next few days. The problem is [that] we have to look at it from all perspectives, that of Covid-19, scheduling and cost. These days, the pressures that Covid has brought to world cricket are significant in terms of revenue. We want to come to Bangladesh because we respect the relationship and the bilateral agreements that we have.

“I just want to assure you that we will always send the best available team to any tour that we undertake, including Bangladesh. We believe a tour to Bangladesh is always a challenging tour because it is an environment that’s very different to our own conditions. But we have always done well in Bangladesh. Our players enjoy playing against Bangladesh. At the moment we are fairly evenly matched and it is always a good series between West Indies and Bangladesh. We are doing everything we can to participate in tours abroad and at home. The Covid-19 pandemic is making it extremely difficult to implement our plans.”

On Wednesday, the BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said in a press briefing that CWI had requested one fewer Test due to the length of the bio-bubble in Bangladesh.

“It is not final yet. The West Indies cricket board has requested us, as staying inside bio-bubble for a long time is tough for players,” Chowdhury had said. “They requested to consider if it is possible to shorten the duration of the series. In that case, one of the options is to reduce one Test match. We are still discussing the issues, nothing is finalised yet.”

Skerritt also said they want to ensure that the BCB followed the recognised worldwide health protocols – that the West Indies team had experienced in England – after they became the first international cricket team to tour during the pandemic.

“We want to be sure that the protocols established in Bangladesh meet the requirement that we have established so far in the various tours we have been on,” Skerritt said. “There are case studies to benchmark from. This is not going to be the first overseas tour. As you know, we did the first overseas tour to England.

“Certain standards were set, certain learnings were achieved, and I think once Bangladesh can meet those standards, I don’t think there’s going to be any major problem. We just have to verify in our own way that the situation will be safe for all concerned.”

The BCB has so far held one domestic tournament, the President’s Cup, in which they managed to keep three teams in a bio-bubble, allowing them only to commute between the hotel and the Shere Bangla National Stadium. From Tuesday, they will be hosting the five-team Bangabandhu T20 Cup, which will also have a BCB-sponsored bio-bubble.

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