No place like home - Miller expects Windies players to make themselves available for Caribbean series this year

Former West Indies spin bowler Nikita Miller says that despite the number of players that have not made themselves available for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh, he does not foresee a repeat of such issues for future matches this year.

The West Indies are expected to depart next week in preparation for the tour, which will consist of three One-Day Internationals (ODI) and two Test matches to take place in the cities of Mirpur and Chittagong. However, several players, including Test captain Jason Holder, ODI captain Kieron Pollard, and Roston Chase chose not to participate in the tour for health and safety reasons relating to the coronavirus. Other players who are not in the squad are Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, and Nicholas Pooran.

Miller says that with the prospect of playing in the Caribbean this year, there shouldn’t be notable absences from the team in the future.,

“When you look at the schedule for the West Indies this coming year, they are mostly home series,” he said. “So in terms of going forward, I don’t think there will be too much issues where that is concerned.”

West Indies are to host Sri Lanka, Australia, and Pakistan this year as part of the ICC’s future tours programme. Should matches be finalised, it would be the first time that the Caribbean will host international matches since January 2020 against Ireland. The pandemic resulted in no international matches being held in the region last year, with the squad only able to tour England and New Zealand.

Mental fatigue

Holder had brought up concerns of mental fatigue during the tour of New Zealand, and Miller says that he does sympathise with players who have those concerns, given players participating in similar environments last year in leagues such as the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), the Indian Premier League (IPL), and the Big Bash League in Australia.

Former cricketer and honorary secretary of the West Indies Players Association Wayne Lewis says that he hopes Cricket West Indies and the various territories can work together to put on regional tours for 2021 although he is unsure whether there would be any easing of potential restrictions for games should the matches be finalised.

“I can’t imagine that would be the case with the West Indies because we still have COVID-19 here and there within the Caribbean,” Lewis said. “I expect that there would be no spectators in the stands when the matches are being played. [But] we have been on the road for a while, and it’s an opportunity now for our players to play at home. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that [these teams] will be able to come to the Caribbean because that’s how Cricket West Indies makes money.”

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