MANCHESTER, England – Head coach of the West Indies Team Phil Simmons will spend five days in isolation as a precaution after leaving the secure West Indies facility to attend a funeral of his father-in-law, who had passed away before the team’s recent assembly in Manchester on Friday. It means he will miss the team's final warm-up match starting on Monday, a four-day match involving two teams from the West Indies 25-man squad at Emirates Old Trafford, England.
In keeping with the COVID-19 protocols for the tour, Simmons will also be tested at the start and the end of the isolation period. If he is returned negative, he will then rejoin the touring party.
Before the start of the tour Simmons had already sought and was given the necessary permissions from medical officials to leave the team’s base in Manchester. The entire process of his exit and re-entry to the bio-secure location was approved and managed by the medical teams of the CWI and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and strictly followed protocols set up before the tour which addressed such scenarios.
Simmons travelled to the small private family cremation and returned on Friday, following the completion of the first inter-squad three-day warm-up match. It is a well-established policy for CWI players and team officials on tour to be given permission compassionate leave as and when needed.
Following his return, Simmons has been in self-isolation away from other members of the squad, exactly as had always been planned. He has so far undergone two COVID-19 tests since Friday – both of which came back negative. He will have another test on Wednesday before he will re-join the squad as they prepare for the three-match #RaiseTheBat Series against England.
In the interim, the players are being prepared by the other members of the coaching staff, led by experienced Assistant Coach Roddy Estwick, for their final inter-squad warm-up match. Because of the convenient design and location of the team hotel, Simmons will be able to view the practice match from his hotel room balcony.
Dr Donovan Bennett, Chairman of CWI’s Medical Advisory Committee said: “The Medical Advisory Committee is happy with the feedback we have been receiving from our medical associates in the United Kingdom. Phil Simmons adhered to the process of managed exit and re-entry as discussed with and agreed on between CWI and the ECB. These contingencies were put in place before the tour was agreed on and all exits from the bio-secure environment must be agreed by both medical teams before concessions are given.”
Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph told reporters on Saturday his absence would not impact preparations.
“That doesn’t really disrupt our preparations,” the 23-year-old said. “We have our jobs to do, we have preparations to keep going on.
“We have a lot of coaching staff here that are very supportive of each player so that’s not really a problem for anyone.”
West Indies arrived in England on June 9 and underwent two weeks of quarantine, while beefing up preparations in the nets. They played their first “inter-squad” three-day tour game last week.
The tourists have been prohibited from engaging in the traditional warm-up fixtures against county sides in an attempt to limit their interaction with the public.
It has been just one of several stringent protocols put in place for the tour being played amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already resulted in 310,000 infections and 43, 000 deaths in the United Kingdom.
Globally, the virus has been responsible for nearly 10 million infections and nearly half a million deaths.
West Indies arrived in the UK on a secure chartered flight, were transported to Old Trafford in several buses to ensure social distancing and have been hunkered down ever since.
All three Tests – the first is carded for Southampton and the last two at Old Trafford – will be played behind closed doors with strict sanitisation and social distancing measures in place.
Three-day at Emirates Old Trafford – June 23-25
Four-day at Emirates Old Trafford – June 29 to July 2
Wisden Trophy Test Series
1st Test at Ageas Bowl, Southampton – July 8-12
2nd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester – July 16-20
3rd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester – July 24-28
Test Squad: Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach
Reserve Players: Sunil Ambris, Joshua DaSilva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican