Covid crowd restrictions set to be lifted for England’s Test series against the West Indies with thousands of travelling fans expected to attend the three matches in the Caribbean
- Antigua and Grenada committed to be fully opened for first and third Tests
- Barbados’ Kensington Oval, venue for the second Test, is set to follow suit
- T20 series in Bridgetown was effectively a trial run for the back-to-back Tests
England fans will be welcomed back to the Caribbean in their thousands next month with crowd restrictions for the three-match Test series to be lifted.
Antigua and Grenada have already committed to opening their venues fully for the first and third Tests and Barbados’ Kensington Oval, scene of the second, is set to follow suit by the end of this week.
The five-match Twenty20 series in Bridgetown – settled 3-2 in West Indies’ favour on Sunday night in an exhilarating finish when Jason Holder finished off England’s innings with four wickets in four balls – was effectively a trial run for the back-to-back Tests here between March 8-28.
England fans will be welcomed back to the Caribbean in their thousands next month
Aside from teething problems in the first match when droves of travelling supporters were still queuing outside after the start of play due to stringent vaccination checks, things have run extremely smoothly.
The island’s health authority set a reduced 50% capacity for the T20s and there were more than 4,000 Brits in attendance for Sunday’s 6,000 ‘sell out’. There have been firm indications that they will abolish the limits for England’s return.
In terms of popularity, away series versus West Indies are second only to trips to Australia with England supporters and provide huge economic boosts to the local tourism industry.
The T20 series in Bridgetown was effectively a trial run for the back-to-back Tests in March
In fact, it is understood West Indies would welcome more frequent tours in the future given their appeal and success.
England will attempt to win for only the second time here in 54 years when they fly out on February 24 for what will be known as the Apex Test series following Cricket West Indies’ sponsorship agreement with their sustainability partners.
The strong links between England and West Indies were highlighted this past week when Bat For A Chance, a charity that donates cricket kit and equipment around the world, began distributing to girls in Barbados that might not otherwise have access to the sport.
Barbadian-born England internationals past and present in Roland Butcher and Chris Jordan have been involved in the latest project of an organisation set up by a then 14-year-old Will Gaffney three years ago.