BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – West Indies Cricket (CWI) says players have been fully briefed on health protocols for next month’s Super50 Cup in Antigua, paving the way for the domestic championship successfully in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The tournament, set for February 7-27, is the first to be staged by CWI since the start of the coronavirus in the region last year, and will be held in a biosafety bubble that has now become standard for competitive sports.
All players and officials will be tested twice for COVID-19 before departing for Antigua and will be tested again within days of arriving in St. John.
Tests will continue throughout the tournament to ensure the integrity of the biosafety bubble is maintained.
“We had a first meeting with all players and participants through Zoom,” said CWI cricket operations manager Roland Holder.
“We had a meeting the week before with the team managers – coaches, team managers and cricket operations personnel – just to explain the timetable (a) talk about the schedule.
“We talked to the players about the protocols that are part of this new COVID era as some of them may not have been involved (before). They were able to ask Dr Oba Gulston questions, Dr (Akshai) Mansingh was also on board the ship so it was a really exciting time. ”
Gulston is CWI’s manager for Sports Medicine and Science while Mansingh is a member of the board’s medical advisory committee.
Six franchisees will compete in the Super50 Cup with squads and officials are expected to start arriving in Antigua next Sunday.
The tournament will be played at Coolidge Cricket Ground and Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, with CWI seeking assistance from the Antigua Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Sport and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
CWI said in a statement that the collaboration with these agencies would help “organize logistics and agree the safety and medical protocols for the start and duration of the tournament.”
The Leeward Islands Hurricanes, losing the final in the last Super50 Cup staged in 2019, will face Windward Islands Volcanoes in the opening match at Coolidge on February 7.
In March last year, a COVID-19 pandemic in the CWI region forced it to abort the last two rounds of the first-class championship.
Then the regional governing body was also forced to scrap all the scheduled home series that included tours by South Africa and New Zealand.
The success of the Super50 Cup is expected to pave the way for international flights from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South Africa and Australia later this year.