Pace great Michael Holding believes West Indies will particularly miss batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer on their tour of England after they, along with all-rounder Keemo Paul, opted out of the series because of Covid-19 fears.
The three-Test series is scheduled to be played in July behind closed doors at ‘bio-secure’ venues of Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford, subject to British government approval.
“I think it’s unfortunate as far as West Indies cricket is concerned,” Holding said on his YouTube channel.
“I’m not going to tell anyone that they should be going to England because Covid-19 is around, someone may get sick or even worse,” he said. “But at the same time I think it’s unfortunate for the West Indies team because these guys have quite a bit of talent, and they’ll be missed.”
West Indies dropped Bravo for the one-off Test against Afghanistan in November and Holding reckoned the England tour was a missed opportunity for the top-order batsman trying to revive his stop-start career.
“I’m sorry that Bravo in particular isn’t going because Bravo, I think, needs to resuscitate his career,” the 66-year-old Jamaican said.
“I think the more cricket he can play now, especially for West Indies, the better chance he has of getting back on track and showing everyone the great player that he could be.”
Fearless middle order batsman Hetmyer could have also benefited from the England tour, Holding said.
“Hetmyer, again, I think he’s a very, very talented player.”
“Again, I’m sorry that he’s not going so that he can get more opportunity to express himself. But I ain’t blaming them for not going.”
‘ICC will have to allow more substitutes
for bio-secure match’
Former England captain Michael Atherton said that the International Cricket Council (ICC) will have to allow more substitutes in cricket.
Teams are presently allowed to replace a player who has sustained a concussion with another but Atherton said that with England set to host West Indies in a three-match Test series next month in a bio-secure environment, teams might need more replacements for other injuries.
“What, for example, happens if a batsman breaks a finger and he’s got to go to the hospital for an X-ray? He’s got to leave the bubble and then come back, and if there’s a delay on testing or the results. I think you’ll see one or two compromises,” Atherton told Shaun Pollock and host Neil Manthorp in the ‘Following On Cricket Podcast’.
Atherton said that in such a scenario, there will have to be “an extension for the concussion rule.”
“If you remember, Marnus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute for Steve Smith last year, and what will probably happen, as just a short-term measure, is if there’s an injury that’ll require someone to go to hospital, they’ll probably allow a substitute for that, whether it’s a broken finger or a torn hamstring or whatever.”
Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) selection panel on Wednesday named a fourteen (14) man Test squad and list of eleven (11) reserves for the proposed tour of England.
“Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul all declined the invitation to travel to England for the tour and CWI fully respects their decision to choose to do so. As previously stated, CWI will not hold this decision against these players when considering future selection,” said CWI in their statement.
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