MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - West Indies captain Jason Holder says his team should cherish the opportunity to play test cricket in a series that could easily have been cancelled due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
The first test is scheduled at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton from July 8, with the last two matches at Old Trafford.
All the tests will be played without spectators with the Caribbean players already set up in their base at Manchester’s Old Trafford where they are quarantined in the on-site hotel.
“I see so many leagues in jeopardy and the World T20 as well — so the mere fact we are getting an opportunity to play cricket I think we should cherish that,” Holder told reporters.
“Many organisations are taking pay cuts and we have suddenly got our opportunity now to make some money so we have a lot of things to be thankful for and I think we just have to relish the opportunity and grab it with both hands,” he added.
There has been no international cricket since March 13 due to the pandemic and the status of the World T20 tournament, scheduled to begin in Australia on Oct. 18, remains uncertain.
West Indies’ squad have to spend three weeks at Old Trafford before heading to Southampton and with their movement restricted to the ground and hotel they face a challenge to avoid boredom.
But Holder expects his team to cope with the restrictions.
“Guys have different ways of doing it. We’ve been to some places, for example, in the sub-continent (where) you don’t go outside the hotel too much,” said Holder.
West Indies hold the Wisden Trophy after beating England 2-1 in a three-test series in the Caribbean last year but Holder is not reading too much into that win.
“So many things have changed from then to now, conditions being one of them. To call us favourites would be wrong. England are a higher ranked side than us and I think they are favourites in their back yard,” said Holder.
“There is lots to play for and lots to motivate you as a group. Guys are pumped up for the opportunity and the only sad thing is that we won’t be able to play in front of the crowds.”
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Ken Ferris