Pakistan and West Indies ODI Series postponed

The three-match One Day International series between Pakistan and the West Indies which was scheduled to begin tomorrow has been postponed until June next year in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak among the West Indies squad.

The West Indies were hit by the virus on the very first day they arrived in Karachi with three players and a support staff member testing positive. While the tour was able to survive that, the emergence of five more COVID-19 cases from tests done on Wednesday, the day before the third and final Twenty/20 International took the situation out of everyone’s hands.

With Devon Thomas sidelined with a finger injury as well, West Indies only had 14 players to choose from, and though that proved enough to complete the Twenty/20 International leg of the tour, both boards agreed that continuing with such a depleted squad would not be right, especially given that the One Day Internationals that were to follow were also part of the Super League which determines a team’s progress into the 2023 World Cup.

A joint release from the Pakistan Cricket Board and Cricket West Indies said: “On Thursday morning and as part of the PCB Covid-19 Protocols, Rapid Antigen tests were conducted on the remaining 15 West Indies players and six player support personnel.

“All 21 members of the West Indies touring party returned negative test result. As such, Thursday’s Twenty/20 International proceeded as planned.

“However, taking into consideration both the teams’ welfare, as well as limited resources in the West Indies squad for the One Day Internationals, it has been agreed that the series, which forms part of the ICC Men’s Cricket Word Cup Super League, will be postponed and rescheduled for early June, 2022.”

The 15 West Indies players and six support staff who were cleared of the virus were scheduled to leave for home after last night’s match. The others, Sheldon Cottrell, Roston Chase, Kyle Mayers, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Justin Greaves, Assistant Coach, Roddy Estwick, team physician, Dr. Akshai Mansingh and one other non-coaching member, will stay back in Karachi.

According to the bio-security protocols for the tour, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will have to undergo isolation for a period of 10 days, and will only be released after two negative tests.

It is unclear how any of the West Indies players contracted COVID-19. The 21-member squad arrived in Karachi in commercial flights from multiple locations via Dubai. They were placed in quarantine for two days before they came together as a group to train for and play the first two Twenty/20 Internationals.

Pakistan’s players, all of whom tested negative on Wednesday, were also scheduled to leave the bio-bubble after yesterday’s 3rd Twenty/20 International.

This is the second One Day International series to be disrupted in Pakistan this year. New Zealand were supposed to play three matches in Rawalpindi in October but minutes before the first one was to begin, they called it off citing security concerns. Pakistan’s next 50-over assignment is against Australia in March next year.