MANCHESTER, England – Head coach Phil Simmons says West Indies have shown great character over the first week of their quarantine since arriving here for next month’s three-Test series against England.
The 25-man contingent comprising a 14-member Test squad and 11 reserves have been locked away at Old Trafford since touching down last Tuesday, while also undergoing intense training amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the protocols adopted for the seven-week tour, the tourists will be isolated from the public in what have been termed “bio-secure” facilities at Old Trafford and the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
“Training has been going good, it’s been going very good,” Simmons told media via Zoom.
“The facilities at Old Trafford are second to none so we’ve been enjoying that. To be honest, the bio-secure [environment] is a little bit similar to what we would’ve done for our training camp so we’ve not had to do much different to that.”
He continued: “I think we’ve been good from the point of view that we have everything here so far. The lockdown, as you would call it, has been eased because we all have been locked down for a number of months which ever part of the world you were in.
“Now part of the lockdown is coming out to practice in the morning and having lunch and practice in the afternoon and having dinner, playing some games with some of your colleagues. So I think this part of lock down is better than what we’ve had in March, April.
“But it’s early days and it’s been very educational because you have some characters here including the captain who keeps everything lively.”
The United Kingdom has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, with authorities here recording 296 000 infections and over 41 000 deaths.
Unsurprisingly, the public health crisis forced the the England and Wales Cricket Board to postpone the series from last month, and following negotiations with Cricket West Indies, settled on new dates in July.
The first Test will be played at the Ageas Bowl from July 8-12, with the second Test scheduled for Old Trafford from July 16-20 and the final Test set for the same venue here starting July 24.
Simmons, who resides in England and linked up with the squad upon arrival, said team spirit was high and players were making the most of in-house entertainment.
“There’s always dominoes and if you’ve ever been to the Caribbean it’s a highly explosive form of entertainment especially when you’re getting six-loved so that’s been part [of the entertainment],” the former West Indies player explained.
“We have a golf simulation centre, we have cards, we have a few things that guys are playing and enjoying themselves and like I say, when you have characters like Jason Holder everyone’s always laughing and having fun.”