England will play three Tests at home against the West Indies in July, subject to British government clearance to return behind closed doors, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Tuesday.
The first Test will take place at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl ground from July 8-12, with the second and third Tests at Old Trafford in Manchester on July 16-20 and July 24-28 respectively.
The series had been due to take place in June but was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The England and Wales Cricket Board informed that the touring West Indies squad will arrive in the UK on Tuesday 9 June and travel to Old Trafford in Manchester for quarantining and training. This will be their base for a three-week period before moving to Southampton for the start of the first Test.
West Indies tour of England:
- First Test v West Indies: 8-12 July at Ageas Bowl, Southampton
- Second Test v West Indies: 16-20 July at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
- Third Test v West Indies: 24-28 July at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
ECB Director of Events, Steve Elworthy said, “Our main objective is to deliver a safe environment for all stakeholders including players, match officials, operational staff, essential venue staff, broadcasters and media.
“We are in daily dialogue with Government and our medical team, who have been incredibly supportive during this period. These are our proposed dates and they remain subject to UK Government approval.
“We would like to thank Cricket West Indies for their co-operation and dedication in making this tour a reality, and we all look forward to the prospect of cricket returning in the coming weeks,” he added.
A decision on other scheduled matches for England men and women’s teams this summer will be determined at a later date, ECB announced.
The ECB decided to move the matches to the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford for reasons of bio-security. Both grounds have on-site hotels where players and officials can be closely monitored for signs of Covid-19.
Edgbaston, in Birmingham, will remain a “contingency venue” and will be used to stage additional training throughout July.
Last week the ECB announced it was pushing back the start of its domestic season until August at the earliest.
But going ahead with international fixtures is seen as vital to avoiding a financial black hole, with ECB chief executive Tom Harrison warning a completely cancelled season could cost the board £380 million ($477 million).
Tuesday’s announcement came as the ECB announced its financial results for 2019/20 at a virtual annual general meeting, reporting a record turnover of £228 million – an increase of £56 million.
In March the ECB launched a £61 million aid package to help English cricket cope with the financial fallout from the pandemic.
Pakistan are due to arrive in England for a three-Test series later in the season, with England also scheduled to play limited-overs matches against Australia and Ireland.
The ECB said a decision on those matches and the women’s internationals against India and South Africa would be made at a later date.
(With AFP inputs)