Yes, you read right. After nearly four months of no cricket across the globe, international cricket is finally set to resume this week as England take on the West Indies at home.
The West Indies have travelled to England for a three-test series starting Wednesday, July 8. The first test will be played in Southampton while the remaining two will take place in Manchester. The matches will be played in empty stadiums. England is also scheduled to take on Pakistan in a test series starting the end of the month.
The series has been named the #RaiseTheBat series with a view to acknowledging the contribution of key workers battling coronavirus crisis. The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have devised a few precautionary measures to be followed during the game in the wake of the pandemic. Apart from the matches being played sans crowds, players are not permitted to apply saliva or sweat on the cricket ball, a technique usually employed by bowlers to generate swing. The concept of coronavirus subs has also been introduced. This means that like-for-like substitutes will be permitted for players displaying symptoms of the virus.
England test captain Joe Root will miss the first test to attend the birth of his child, which means maverick all-rounder Ben Stokes (pictured above) will lead the English for the first time in his career. Wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler has been named Stokes’ deputy for the test.
Both teams warmed up for the upcoming series with three-day intra-squad games. The West Indies played theirs at Manchester with two teams led by captain Jason Holder and vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite respectively. England played their warm-up match at Southampton with Stokes and Buttler leading the two sides.
Another talking point has been both teams’ agreement to sport the Black Lives Matter logo on their collars throughout the series, in solidarity with protests in the United States over the murder of George Floyd.
Cricket fans in India can catch live action of the England versus West Indies series on Sony SIX and can also live-stream the matches on SonyLIV.
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