England series in CWI best interest, says Bishop


England series in CWI best interest, says Bishop

Sunday, May 17, 2020

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Well-respected television broadcaster Ian Bishop believes it would be in the best financial interest of Cricket West Indies (CWI) and regional players to take up the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) offer of the three-Test series in the United Kingdom this July.

The series was postponed from the original June 4-29 dates because of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, but now seems poised to go ahead under a new suite of radical safety proposals aimed at mitigating the health threat.

“I don't know that the West Indies board can afford to go for prolonged periods with inactivity. I think that would be the death of them financially and by extension the players around the region will suffer greatly, as have most people in this country and around the world,” Bishop told i95FM Radio here.

“I know that sports seem like a back burner [issue] to many when so many have been losing their jobs but… sport is not a game. Sport is a job and career as well for all of these players and the people surrounding it.

“So if it happens, I think it would be a good thing as long as it happens safely. I don't want to put anybody's life at risk.”

Reports emerged this week that CWI had identified a 30-man training squad for the tour, though the governing body subsequently clarified this was only to “help with the planning and logistics of flying to the UK” in the event the series was approved.

Under ECB proposals, the tour would be played at “bio-secure” facilities like Manchester, Southampton, and Leeds which boast hotels on location.

Teams would also undergo strict isolation, quarantine, and testing protocols, prior to and during the series.

Bishop, who played 43 Tests between 1989 and 1998, said he believed both CWI and ECB would only proceed with the tour after getting the best medical advice possible.

“First of all, I believe that the cricket boards will be guided by the medical personnel. So for [the tour] to happen, it means they would have had to be clearance from the medical people,” said the 52-year-old.

“I speak under the proviso that the medical folk have given it a pass. I am not going to circumvent people's health for the sake of money.”

The UK has been one of the hardest-hit regions with 237,000 infections and nearly 34,000 deaths. The outbreak forced the ECB to postpone the start of its domestic season until May 28.

Bishop said it was important cricket officials understood the fluid nature of the pandemic and made the requisite adjustments.

“Nobody in the world had suspected this scenario with the pandemic to happen, no one seems to have the answers, not even the medical people whose views and discoveries are changing from month to month,” the Trinidadian pointed out.

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