After a hiatus of 116 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international cricket will resume on Wednesday as England and West Indies lock horns in a three-match Test series.
The series will be played behind closed doors and the matches will be played in Southampton and Manchester. This will be the first time in the 143-year long history of Test cricket that the matches will be played without no crowds.
The England-Windies Test series will be held at Hampshire's Ageas Bowl and Lancashire's Emirates Old Trafford, which have been chosen as bio-secure venues. After the series against West Indies, England will play against Ireland and Pakistan.
However, the series against West Indies will be followed closely across the world as all other boards would be looking to see as to how cricket series can be scheduled in their own backyard with the current scenario regarding coronavirus.
The dates for three Tests against West Indies are: First Test: July 8-12 at Ageas Bowl, Second Test: July 16-20 at Emirates Old Trafford, Third Test: July 24-28 at Emirates Old Trafford.
Windies side had arrived in the UK in mid-June and the entire camp had to quarantine themselves for 14 days at Manchester.
For the entire tour, the West Indies squad will live, train and play in a 'bio-secure' environment in England as part of the comprehensive medical and operations plans to ensure player and staff safety. The bio-secure protocols will also restrict movement in and out of the venues.
England squad for the first Test: Ben Stokes (captain), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
West Indies squad for the first Test: Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, and Kemar Roach.
As safety precautions against the coronavirus, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has also brought about some changes to the playing conditions. The new guidelines include the ban of saliva to shine the ball and allowing replacement of players displaying symptoms of COVID-19 during a Test match.
Players will not be permitted to use saliva to shine the ball. If a player does apply saliva to the ball, the umpires will manage the situation with some leniency during an initial period of adjustment for the players, but subsequent instances will result in the team receiving a warning.
A team can be issued up to two warnings per innings but repeated use of saliva on the ball will result in a 5-run penalty to the batting side. Whenever saliva is applied to the ball, the umpires will be instructed to clean the ball before play recommences.
Moreover, teams will be allowed to replace players displaying symptoms of COVID-19 during a Test match. In line with concussion replacements, the match referee will approve the nearest like-for-like replacement. However, the regulation for COVID-19 replacements will not be applicable in ODIs and T20Is.
When will the match start in India?
The match will start on July 8, 3:30 PM.
Where to watch the live stream?
The match will be live-streamed on Sony Liv.
Where to watch the broadcast?
The match will be broadcasted on Sony Six and HD.
(With ANI inputs)