England tour ‘an economic opportunity’- Holder

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West Indies captain Jason Holder has admitted that the proposed tour of England in July will represent an opportunity for players “to actually make some money”, but insisted that no player would be forced to travel if they did not feel safe doing so.

While boards have admitted throughout the crisis that they need to return to play as soon as possible in order to bring in TV revenue, few players have spoken about their own need to earn. West Indies players have felt the financial impact of the COVID-19 shutdown harder than most, with match fees from games earlier this calendar year delayed and CEO Johnny Grave accepting that Cricket West Indies “is facing a tough time financially”.

Speaking on the BBC’s ‘Tuffers and Vaughan’ show, Holder said the tour would allow for “everybody getting back into the workforce”.

“It’s no different from a frontline worker going into a hospital every day,” Holder said. “It’s the same risk that they’re… they’re putting their lives at risk and they’ve still got to make money. The longer we stay off the field, the longer it takes for us to actually make some money.”

England’s players will return to individual training on Wednesday with the hope of starting a three-Test series against West Indies on July 8. West Indies have been in contact with an enlarged training squad of around 30 players to let them know more details about the tour, but Holder echoed the sentiments of Ricky Skerritt, CWI’s president, in saying that no player would be forced to travel to the UK if they did not feel safe.

“Each player has to be comfortable in making the step,” he said. “Certainly from my perspective, I wouldn’t be forcing anybody to go anywhere. It’s been made clear that if we are to hop on a plane to go over to England and play, then it must be safe. We’re been given assurance from CWI that we wouldn’t go over to England unless they deem it safe to go over and play.

“It’s not only from a monetary standpoint. The first priority is everybody’s safety. We’ve been assured that the only way that the tour will possibly go ahead is if everyone could be comfortable with the measures that the ECB are putting in place to roll the cricket out.

“But there’s obviously been a lot of ongoing discussions, and for us as players to commit to going, we’ve just got to be assured of our safety.”

Holder also admitted that after a packed international schedule, the break had come at a good time for him personally as an opportunity to “recoup” before playing again.

“It has been a welcome break,” he said. “It’s kind of unfortunate the kind of break it has been, but for us it’s an opportunity to reflect, relax, and recoup before we actually resume playing cricket again.

“No doubt, hopefully in the not too distant future we will have the opportunity to get out on the cricket field, but every cricketer around the world who has been on the circuit maybe for the last four, five years, hectically playing, would welcome this break.” (ESPNCricinfo)

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