He bowled like a wind at Oval. His bouncers in the second innings caused havoc in the opposition camp yet not selected for the second and the most vital test in England’s recent history. The man from Barbados, world cup hero Jofra Archer on Tuesday, breached the bio-secure protocols, which created a massive headache not only for himself but for the crucial stakeholders of the game.
The ongoing series between England and West Indies is conducted under strict jurisdiction (bio-secure environment) where repeated Covid-19 testing and social distancing have become the new norm to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
The men from the Caribbean landed in the UK from June 9 to the fact that they could quarantine themselves at Manchester’s Old Trafford ground, later on, practice in a lockdown situation. The ICC has given it all to minimize the effect of transmission from one person to another.
The 22 years Bejan fast bowler took a stop during his journey from Southampton to Old Trafford, wherein he popped in at his flat in Brighton, which created headlines all over the world for becoming the first cricketer in the history of the game to be dropped because of breaking COVID-19 protocols. This story came into light with the help of accreditation cards, which the players wear has a GPS tracking device that gets activated only at the match venues. The players travelled individually from Southampton to Manchester, with a scheduled lunch stop en route.
The young sensation’s activities could have costed the England Cricket Board enormous damage and pounds, but the former has accepted his mistake and made no histrionics out of it.
Another thunderous blow had arrived at ECB’s shores when the West Indies coach Phil Simmons had moved out of the bubble to attend father-in-law’s funeral but received a lot of flak and possible suspension. However, he took permission for the event.
Understanding BIO SECURE BUBBLE
The foremost thing to understand is that all the stakeholders working at the venues will be tested, and for a fact, between June 3 to June 23, around 700 odd COVID-19 tests were conducted, out of which none of them tested positive. The vising team will also get tested before boarding the flight to the country they tour and then again at arrival.
Then the players will be tested twice a week along with thermal screenings on a daily basis. The venues selected for conducting the test matches should have hotels inside the premises. Apart from players, game lists covering the match will have to stay for the entire duration inside the stadium complex. The people on-site at any point will vary from 300-500.
|Key Zones||Members allowed|
|Green Zone||Players and Umpires|
|Orange Zone||Operational Workers|
|Red Zone||Food Deliveries|
It is strictly instructed that no one can cross over to another zone without accreditation. There is a mandatory two-meter social distancing policy to be maintained within all zones. The hotels inside the stadium have designated zones with a proper gap for physical distancing. Strangely, two different teams are allocated in two different floors of the hotel. With strict provisions put in place, the floors don’t interact and separating eating areas for players. Amusingly, the only time the two teams will meet will be on the ground.
Blessing In Disguise
In the last decade of the sport, no team has dominated handsomely away from home. If we look at ICC events, countries hosting the world cup at their backyard have won the title in the previous three editions. A mixture of weather, 22 yards, and bull ring play hold an enormous advantage for the home side resulting in visiting teams more than they otherwise do. Except for Bangladesh and Windies, all nine- permanent Test nations have won or drawn series they have played at home. India has made its home ground a fortress not ready to be breached.
We must say, COVID-19 had brought back old memories where teams in the past used to travel overseas three months before the test series started. Now, teams arriving early with elongated squads will only spice up and uplift the standard of the game as they will get more time to acclimate to foreign conditions and be well prepared to meet eye to eye at opposition’s den.