Former West Indies Team manager and current manager of the Guyana Amazon franchise Omar Khan said, two of his players who have opted out of the West Indies tour of England, should not have.
Guyanese Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul and Trinidad and Tobago's Darren Bravo have opted not to tour England due to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that is gripping the world of sports at the moment. The West Indies selectors have named a 25-man squad which will leave the Caribbean on June 8 bound for Manchester, England where they will go into quarantine before beginning the defence of their Wisden Trophy against England at the Ages Bowl in Southampton on July 8.
It was also reported on Cricinfo that Hetmeyer emailed CWI indicating that he was not totally comfortable with going on the tour. According to CWI Chief Executive Oficer (CEO) Johnny Grave, "He didn't feel comfortable from a safety point of view, leaving his home, leaving his family and heading over to England".
The popular cricket website also quoted Graves as saying: "Keemo Paul is the sole breadwinner in his entire household and wider family. He was really concerned if something happened to him how his family would cope."
Grave added: "Darren Bravo had concerns about his health and any consequences that it may have on his young family. He also mentioned he made his decision with great remorse as it was always a huge honour for him to play for West Indies. So, yes, perfectly valid reasons and the ones that we fully respect. We were never going to force or try to coerce and we didn't ask them to reconsider."
Khan who managed the West Indies team from 2007 to 2010, told Guardian Media Sports on Thursday that: "A situation like this is mentally taxing on the player. This is the first time that a series is being played under the present Covid-19 situation and hence the players are not sure how all will pan out. I could understand mentally that the players would want to be totally comfortable but in my personal view, I think Hetmeyer and Paul should have gone.
"It is good that the CEO said that nothing will be held against them for not going but on the negative side for them, other players have come in the replace them and if they perform and cement a spot then it will be harder for them to break back into the team. They would have had to weigh all those options before making a decision. Once they are comfortable that is important."
Khan who has a glowing reputation as a successful cricket manager added that if he was in the manager's position for this tour he would have made sure all the players had in writing the conditions that they will meet under the lockdown scenario. "I don't know if it was done but I would have ensured that the players got in writing what is expected of them and that they signed off on it. You don't want a situation where players are telling you that they didn't know this and they didn't know that. This is a tough tour for a manager because it is the first time that this scenario is being played out and hence the players will be tested."
President of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) Azim Bassarath also told Guardian Media Sports on Thursday that if a player is not comfortable he should not tour. "The last thing is that you want players to go across to England and can't focus on the job at hand. They must be comfortable so that they can do what they have been sent there to do, which is to defend the Wisden Trophy. I agree with those players who have decided not to go. It is a personal decision and one has to respect that. I agree with those who are going as well because as I said before it's a personal decision and once they are comfortable then they should go and play their cricket."