Fast bowling legend Sir Andy Roberts has criticized the decision by the Cricket West Indies (CWI) to allow the tour of England to go ahead amid the COVID-19 pandemic, without ensuring there was financial benefit to be derived from the three-Test series.
Sir Andy said while he did not have a problem with the series in principle, he did not believe the West Indies should have been used as “guinea pigs” for the historic “bio-secure” series without financial reward, especially since England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) stood to save 380 million pounds sterling by convincing teams to honor commitments during the summer.
“I don’t have a problem with them negotiating to go to England. What I have a problem is that there are talks about West Indies not going to benefit from this tour financially, which I think would be a mistake because the chances we’re going to take I don’t know much more countries are willing to take that chance,” the 69-year-old Sir Andy said. He snatched 202 wickets from 47 Tests between 1974 and 1983.
West Indies was scheduled to tour England last month but the three-Test series was postponed as the United Kingdom wrestled with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a bid to rescue their summer schedule and hundreds of millions of dollars in in television revenue, the ECB proposed staging the series in a radical “bio-secure” environment.
Players will be isolated for the duration of the seven-week tour and play each Test behind closed doors at “bio-secure” venues with hotels on site.
Recently, CWI Chief Executive Officer, Johnny Grave said while the ECB had covered the “costs of all the mitigating factors” of the tour, the regional governing body would pick up the tab for player match fees and other allowances.
Further, he said, the EBC would keep all revenue as was the norm for bilateral tours.
However, Sir Andy reiterated that the “risk” undertaken by West Indies on the tour should have accompanied by some special compensation.