Three Windies players turn down chance to tour England

Selectors affirm that declining to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic will not be held against players as the Windies prepare to face England

Veteran batsman Darren Bravo is among three West Indies cricketers to turn down a place in the squad for next month's three-Test tour of England.

Selectors announced Bravo, fellow batsman Shimron Hetmyer and fast-bowling allrounder Keemo Paul all turned down the invitation to play in the United Kingdom, where the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed at least 39,000 lives, according to government officials.

"Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul all declined the invitation to travel to England for the tour and CWI fully respects their decision to choose to do so," Cricket West Indies said in a statement.

"As previously stated, CWI will not hold this decision against these players when considering future selection."

Jason Holder will skipper a 14-man squad that features two newcomers in fast bowler Chemar Holder (no relation) and middle-order batsman Nkrumah Bonner.

The squad also includes Shai Hope, who during the West Indies' 2017 Test match win at Headingley became the first batsman to score hundreds in both innings of a first-class match at Yorkshire's headquarters.

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This year's three back-to-back Tests, rescheduled because of the coronavirus outbreak, will be played behind closed doors.

But a series that will span just 21 days remains subject to final approval from the UK government.

The touring party, who will all be tested for COVID-19 this week, are scheduled to fly to England on private charters on June 8.

The West Indies squad will live, train and play in a "bio-secure" environment during the seven weeks of the tour, as part of the comprehensive medical plan to ensure player and staff safety, CWI said.

As the health protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, the selectors have also named 11 reserve players who will travel to train and help prepare the Test squad, while ensuring injury replacements are readily available.

"The new cricketing environment will take some getting used to," said CWI chief selector Roger Harper.

"However, being in England and working together for four weeks before the first Test will give the squad the opportunity to get acclimatised and hopefully, mentally and technically adjusted to the demands of the new environment."

"I think we have a squad that will be very competitive.

"More than half of the squad were involved in the victorious Test series against England in the Caribbean last year so they will bring that experience, that knowledge and belief with them and marry it to the enthusiasm and vitality of the newcomers."

West Indies squad: Jason Holder (c), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach


July 8-12: First Test at Ageas Bowl, Southampton

July 16-20: Second Test at Old Trafford, Manchester

July 24-28: Third Test at Old Trafford, Manchester