West Indiess selectors are scheduled to announce the squad for the tour of Bangladesh early next week, Cricket West Indies (CWI) CEO Johnny Grave has confirmed.
He said CWI was in the final stages of discussions with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and once that was concluded, he expected Chief Selector Roger Harper to announce the approximately 25-member squad for the two Tests and three One-Day Internationals.
However, unlike the England tour last July and the tour of New Zealand earlier this month, there will be no reserves included in the contingent, largely because of the brevity of the series.
“It’s a shorter tour, and we’ve also got the ODI players there should we need to extend anyone’s stay if there were significant injury to any of the players through the one-day series or as we prepare for the Test matches,” Grave said.
With West Indies losing every T20 International and Test against New Zealand and most players underperforming, there has been wide speculation over changes for the upcoming tour.
But with little time in-between tours, selectors are expected to keep faith with the core of both the white-ball and Test squad.
For the Bangladesh tour, the Windies support staff will again include a psychologist and medical doctor but this time, Paul Slowe will accompany the squad as a safety, security and compliance manager.
According to Grave, Slowe’s inclusion was a measure aimed at ensuring all relevant protocols put in place by the BCB were followed.
“We’ll be doing everything possible that we can to continue to reduce the risk and to keep the players and team management unit together and safe,” the Englishman stressed.
West Indies wrapped up their New Zealand tour last weekend when they were soundly beaten by an innings and 12 runs inside four days, to lose the series 2-0 following a similar innings loss in the opening Test.
The Caribbean side also suffered a sound 2-0 thrashing in the preceding three-match T20 International series.
With the West Indies scheduled to arrive in Bangladesh on January 10 it means there is only a short turnaround time between series, and Grave said a decision had been taken to allow players extra time with their families.
“We’re also leaving the region a week later so players can have a longer time with their friends and family and loved ones over the Christmas period to rest and have a break from cricket,” he revealed.
Once players arrive in Bangladesh they will undergo a week-long quarantine before the tour gets underway on January 18, with a one-day tour fixture.
The opening two ODIs have been scheduled for Dhaka on January 20 and 22, with the final game three days later in Chattogram, the city which will also host the first Test [February 3-7] before both teams return to Dhaka for the second Test beginning February 11.
CWI said last week the tour had been agreed to “in principle…subject to the finalisation of the medical and logistical details within the tour memorandum of understanding [MOU]”, but Grave said this process was almost complete.
“We are in the final discussions and negotiations with the BCB on the tour MOU that will contain all the safety, security and medical protocols as well as the standard logistics and operations,” he pointed out.
“We’ve already cut the tour down significantly by reducing a Test match, removing the T20 Internationals, and just having those
all-important ODIs which are part of the qualification process now for the next World Cup and the Test Championship matches.”
The tour will be the third for West Indies amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The revised draft tour schedule is:
January 10: West Indies arrive
January 18: One-Day warm-up match, BKSP, Savar
January 20: 1st ODI, SBNCS, Dhaka
January 22: 2nd ODI, SBNCS, Dhaka
January 25: 3rd ODI, ZACS, Chattogram
January 28-31: Four-Day warm-up, M.A. Aziz Stadium, Chattogram
February 3-7: 1st Test Match, ZACS, Chattogram
February 11-15: 2nd Test Match, SBNCS, Dhaka