Time for R&R


Time for R&R

Walton patiently riding out the storm caused by COVID-19

Senior staff reporter

Saturday, April 04, 2020

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JAMAICA and West Indies cricketer Chadwick Walton is patiently riding out the storm caused by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic while urging people to follow best practices to help keep themselves and their families healthy.

Globally, sport is at a standstill due to the spread of the virus, which has led to tens of thousands of reported deaths resulting from over one million confirmed cases.

“We see what's happening all around us. I urge the country to just follow the necessary protocols and [for people] to just keep themselves safe in this time,” Walton, 34, told the Jamaica Observer.

“For me it's not [too] frustrating because it gives me time to spend with the family and gives me time to recuperate a

nd get my fitness back up,” he said.

Around the world, a number of domestic leagues have confirmed either COVID-19 disease-related changes to upcoming schedules or suspended all play and declared winners of their respective trophies.

The highly lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), the mother of all franchise-based Twenty20 (T20) competitions, was slated to begin March 29, but it was postponed.

Cricket West Indies (CWI), the region's governing body, has suspended all competitions and events until May 31, 2020. Runaway leaders Barbados Pride were declared winners of the regional four-day tournament with only eight of 10 rounds of matches completed.

Between February and last month, Walton was among scores of foreign players participating in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), which was being staged in its entirety in Pakistan for the first time.

His team, Karachi Kings, reached the play-off stage, but inevitable postponement has left the fate of the 2020 edition hanging in the balance.

“We had qualified in the second slot, and obviously we had fancied our chances in terms of lifting the cup. But the health of all people involved was more important than lifting the cup. We had a duty to ensure we did our part in controlling the spread of the virus, and [continuing] a sporting activity at that point in time wasn't the best decision. So organisers felt it best to postpone the tournament,” the free-scoring batsman, who returned to Jamaica weeks ago, told the Observer.

Walton said that at the point of the competition's interruption he was rounding into form with a top score of 45. And after not keeping wicket for some time he had reported back to duty behind the stumps.

The International Cricket Council T20 World Cup, scheduled to take place later this year from October to November in seven venues across Australia, is also under the microscope. In response to concerns, the tournament's local organising committee has said it is monitoring the situation closely while liaising with the relevant authorities.

The region's own Caribbean Premier League, entering its eighth staging this year, is slated to run from August to September.

Walton, who has played two Tests, nine One-Day Internationals and 19 T20s for the West Indies, noted that competing demands could lead to headache for tournament organisers if the COVID-19 crisis tapers off this year.

“I think it will be tough [to complete the PSL] because with other tournaments being [postponed] and everybody wanting to ensure that their tournament gets under way it will be tough to find another slot [on the calendar]. Everybody will want their tournament to play and everybody will be pushing their tournament, and the availability of players might also be an issue,” said Walton, who hails from northern St Elizabeth in central Jamaica.

From a personal standpoint, at least for now, Walton is playing it calm in the face of the united call to minimise the virus spread through hygienic practices and social distancing.

“I've been taking the time to rest and to recuperate, so I haven't really done any form of physical activity, but in the coming weeks I might just go back to doing some running. I won't need a crowd for that; I can do that on my own. That is my plan for now; [to] get my cardio up.

“The quicker we get this under control the better it will be for sports across the world. At this moment I can't say how much it will impact athletes, but I'm sure there will be some form of impact,” he explained.

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