Jason Holder of West Indies celebrates scoring a half century during the Australia against West Indies, ICC Cricket World Cup match – NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND. 06 JUNE 2019 (Shutterstock)
West Indies captain Jason Holder says his players feel safe after arriving in England and “at some point”, some kind of normal must return.
West Indies landed in the UK on Tuesday for their three-match Test series which begins on 8 July at bio-secure venues.
They are the first international sports team to visit since the coronavirus lockdown but Holder said his team had not felt pressured into playing.
“A lot of people were crying out for cricket,” Holder told BBC Sport.
“It is not the case we wanted to be guinea pigs but, having said that, we always had a tour plan here in the UK this summer.
“After we spoke about the possibilities of it coming off, everybody was comfortable and here we are now.”
There has been no international cricket anywhere in the world since 13 March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
While there have been some cases and deaths in the Caribbean, the virus’ impact has been much less than in the UK where more than 40,000 people have died.
“It is not about money for us – we want safety and want to make sure we are treated fairly and we just get on with it,” Holder said.
“If you put yourself in the position of a healthcare worker or someone who has worked on the front line throughout this whole pandemic, they have not had the opportunity to sit back at home and run from the virus.
“They have had to deal with it full on.
“We are fortunate we have not been in that position but having said that, at some point in time you have to make an effort to get back to some kind of normality.”
Since arriving in the UK, West Indies have entered quarantine at Emirates Old Trafford where they will spend three weeks preparing before heading to the Ageas Bowl in Southampton for the first Test.
The second and third matches will take place at Old Trafford with the players staying at the hotels on site at both venues.
Holder, 28, praised the work done by the England and Wales Cricket Board [ECB] in explaining the safety measures that would be in place before the team agreed to travel and for implementing the measures for their arrival.
He said hand sanitiser, disposable gloves and thermometers had been widely available at their hotel.
“Things like that give you a sigh of relief and that much more comfort,” Holder said.
“If we didn’t have things like this it would make you wonder if it was actually safe and again I cannot thank the ECB enough for what they have done so far.”
Holder also said his team will discuss whether to support anti-racism protests that have been seen around the world since the death of George Floyd.
Some sports stars have taken a knee in support of the protests.
Holder feels the movement could help galvanise his team.
“We have had previous series, particularly against England, where people have come out and said things prior to series and that has fuelled us as West Indians,” Holder said.
“Who knows, this could be something serious we could build on and get some real positive energy throughout the entire group.”