Cricket West Indies (CWI) will decide in a few hours if the regional outfit can complete its white-ball tour of Pakistan, after three more players and two officials tested positive for Covid-19.
Key spinner Akeal Hosein, wicketkeeper/batsman Shai Hope and allrounder Justin Greaves all tested positive for the novel coronavirus today, along with assistant coach Roddy Estwick and team physician Dr Akshai Mansingh.
Previously, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell and Kyle Myers had been ruled out of the tour before the first game after failing Covid tests on arrival in Pakistan while Darren Bravo had also fallen victim to a non-Covid-19 illness, according to the CWI Media, before the first ball was bowled.
During the first T20I, wicketkeeper/batsman Devon Thomas was sidelined by a finger injury before Hosein, Hope and Greaves along with three staff members were found to have failed Covid tests.
For a variety of reasons, another seven players, including captain Kieron Pollard, had not travelled to Pakistan in the first place.
The fate of the tour now appears to hang in the balance as, according to a CWI release, ‘CWI and PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) officials will be meeting on Thursday morning, once all members of the touring party have been tested again, to determine whether the tour can continue’.
The final T20 International is carded for tomorrow morning and West Indies have three One-day Internationals (ODIs) scheduled to come on 18, 20, and 22 December. However, coach Phil Simmons has a total of 13 fit and available players left in Pakistan, with only nine remaining who had originally been selected for duty on either the T20I or the ODI team. Of these, several only made the trip on account of the unavailability of senior players in the first place.
In both T20 outings so far, stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran was forced to use batsmen Shamarh Brooks and Thomas, both of whom were taken to Pakistan to play exclusively with the ODI squad.
West Indies, beaten in both their opening T20I fixtures at the Karachi National Stadium and therefore in danger of a whitewash, will be hoping to build on their improvement in Game Two, lost by a mere nine runs after a 63-run mauling in the first mismatch.
However, tomorrow sporting considerations will take second place behind health and medical ones as players and officials face a more insidious opponent in the form of an invisible virus.
West Indies squad:
ODI (available): Nicholas Pooran (captain), Shamarh Brooks, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Anderson Phillip, Raymon Reifer, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr;
T20I (available): Nicholas Pooran (captain), Dominic Drakes, Brandon King, Gudakesh Motie, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr;
Covid-19: Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Justin Greaves, Kyle Mayers;
Ill: Darren Bravo;
Injured: Devon Thomas;
Did not travel owing to injury: Kieron Pollard, Fabian Allen, Obed McCoy;
Did not travel to rest: Jason Holder;
Made themselves unavailable to tour: Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Lendl Simmons.
Editor’s Note: Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) agreed, on 16 December 2021, to postpone the remainder of the Homage Series—three ODIs—until June 2022. Click HERE to read story.