The ECB has announced proposed dates and venues for England’s three-Test series against West Indies, subject to government clearance.
The first Test will be staged at the Ageas Bowl on July 8, with the second and third Tests to be held at Emirates Old Trafford. All three games will be staged behind closed doors, with players staying at on-site hotels in biosecure conditions.
As revealed by ESPNcricinfo, the West Indies squad will arrive in the UK on June 9, when they will travel to Emirates Old Trafford for a three-week period of quarantine and training. They will then travel to the Ageas Bowl ahead for the final stages of preparation before the first Test.
The ECB said in a press release that the venues had been chosen after meeting criteria relating to biosecurity, medical screening and testing provisions, their ability to uphold social distancing, and cricketing facilities.
Four venues submitted expressions of interest, and Edgbaston has been selected as a contingency venue. It will also be used to stage training throughout July.
The Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford will both receive an administration fee for staging the series, and additional costs will be met by the ECB. The three Tests had originally been scheduled for The Oval, Edgbaston and Lord’s, which will all have their staging fees reimbursed, and the ECB will claim for all lost ticket revenues through its insurance policy with fans entitled to full refunds.
Steve Elworthy, the ECB’s director of special operations, said that the main objective was to deliver a safe environment for all those involved.
“We are in daily dialogue with government and our medical team, who have been incredibly supportive during this period,” Elworthy said. “These are our proposed dates and they remain subject to UK Government approval.”
The ECB said it is continuing to work on how best to stage matches, with Ireland, Pakistan and Australia due for men’s tours later in the summer, and South Africa and India scheduled to play women’s series. There are also plans to stage a shortened domestic season, though it was confirmed last week that county cricket will not restart before August 1.