West Indies players will not be forced to tour England: chief

England Test captain Joe Root (left) and West Indies skipper Jason Holder

West Indies cricketers will not be “coerced” into touring England if they are reluctant to do so during the coronavirus crisis, according to West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave.

The Caribbean side are due to travel to play a three-Test series, which has been postponed until July at the earliest.

Grave said a “wide pool” of players had been consulted and none of them would be obliged to tour.

“There will be no coercing players into this tour,” Grave told BBC Radio.

“If you grow up in a country where the population might only be 60,000 or 70,000 people, to be thinking the UK has had over 30,000 deaths is a massive figure.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is considering the use of bio-secure venues and quarantining players. Matches would likely be staged behind closed doors.

Grave said he was optimistic the series would go ahead but that would depend on whether it was deemed safe.

“The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) have got a long way to go to get UK government approval to be absolutely certain that bio-secure cricket will work,” he said.

Grave admitted that with West Indies players coming from different islands that have different levels of restrictions due to the virus, getting them onto one plane would be a challenge but not “insurmountable”.

“The players would be very much in a bubble,” said Grave.

“We said to the ECB we’d want four weeks of preparation before the first Test. We’re probably looking at three back-to-back Test matches.

“It would be seven weeks of very much training at the ground, staying at the ground and very much being isolated within that hotel environment.”

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