INTERNATIONAL cricket returns to the Caribbean, in March, as the West Indies (WI) plays host to Sri Lanka for a packed all-format tour.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) signaled the return of top-flight competition to the region, on Tuesday.
According to a statement issued by CWI, the two teams will play three T20 Internationals, three One-Day Internationals and two Test matches in a bio-secure environment in Antigua from March 3 to April 2.
The last International WI men’s home series featured Ireland in January last year. Since then, the maroon have made three overseas tours to England, New Zealand and Bangladesh as part of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Future Tours Programme (FTP).
The T20 series will create history as the first official international matches to be played by the home team at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) and the first WI T20s to be played in Antigua since 2013.
As reigning ICC T20 World Cup champions, West Indies will use these matches as preparation for their title defence in India later this year.
The CG Insurance ODI series against Sri Lanka bowls off at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium on March 10, 12 and 14 — with the third being a day/night encounter.
These matches also form part of the ICC Super League and will provide the opportunity for WI to secure their first points as the team tries to qualify automatically for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup in India.
Additionally, the two-Test matches will be played at the same venue with the first match starting on March 21 and the second on March 29. These two Tests, however, will also provide the WI with another opportunity to win points and climb the ICC World Test Championship table following the recent series win in Bangladesh on Sunday.
Owing to the pandemic, both teams will stay and play in bio-secure bubbles with all the matches being held in Antigua to accommodate a later arrival date by Sri Lanka. Fans will not be able to attend matches, but will be able to follow on television, radio and through CWI’s digital channels.
On the welcome return of international cricket to the region, CWI President Ricky Skerritt said, “We are pleased to be able to finally confirm this tour. A number of covid19 logistic hurdles have now been overcome and I want to thank Sri Lankan Cricket President, Shammi Silva and his team, for their co-operation in honouring their obligation to tour under the ICC FTP Agreement.
“We are also extremely grateful for the support we received from the Governments of Antigua & Barbuda, and St. Lucia in planning this tour. But it is regrettable that we are unable to include St. Lucia as part of this home series as we had originally hoped to due to the delay in Sri Lanka arriving and the need for the tour to end before the start of the Indian Premier League.”
CWI has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Sport in Antigua & Barbuda to finalise all the logistics and agree to the safety and medical protocols for the tour.
All players, support staff and match officials will be kept in a bio-secure environment, with regular covid19 PCR testing taking place with assistance from the local Ministry of Health and the Caribbean Public Health Agency.
CWI CEO Johnny Grave, commented, “We are delighted to be able to re-start international cricket in the WI, with the announcement of the tour by Sri Lanka. We have a full schedule featuring all three formats, which is sure to attract lots of attention from our fans, especially following on from the terrific Test series win in Bangladesh. A lot of detailed planning has gone into the hosting of this tour and we are confident it will be a success.”
FULL MATCH SCHEDULE
CCG – Coolidge Cricket Ground; SVRS – Sir Vivian Richards Stadium
March 3: 1st T20I at CCG
March 5: 2nd T20I at CCG
March 7: 3rd T20I at CCG
March 10: 1st CG Insurance ODI at SVRS
March 12: 2nd CG Insurance ODI at SVRS
March 14: 3rd CG Insurance ODI at SVRS
March 17-18: Two-day warm-up match at CCG
March 21-25: 1st Test at SVRS
March 29 to April 2: 2nd Test at SVRS