Manchester: West Indies captain Jason Holder hailed a “huge step forward” for cricket as his side became the first international sports team to arrive in Britain since the coronavirus lockdown.
The three-Test series between England and the Caribbean side, originally due to begin on June 4, will start more than a month later at bio-secure venues behind closed doors.
“This is a huge step forward in cricket and in sports in general as we travel over to England for this series,” Holder told the Cricket West Indies website.
All the West Indies players have tested negative for the virus, although they will be retested in Manchester, where they arrived yesterday.
The Ageas Bowl in Southampton will host the first match, starting on July 8, and Old Trafford will host the second and third Tests later in the month.
Players will be in a protective “bubble” at the two grounds.
The West Indies, who hold the Wisden Trophy after beating England at home last year, have selected a 25-strong squad for the series. Three players – Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul – declined to tour.
The absence of Bravo and Hetmyer deprives the tourists of two top-order batsman, with Paul less of a loss given he is a back-up for Holder, the world’s top-ranked all-rounder.