‘Nothing will be held against trio opting out of England tour’- Dr. Shallow

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“They have opted out and this is acceptable and nothing will be held against them for their decision.”

That’s the word from Vice-president of Cricket West Indies (CWI), Dr. Kishore Shallow, as he spoke to the Guardian Media Sports on the decision of Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Darren Bravo of West Indies tour of England for three Test matches.

The trio opted out of the tour, citing family concerns. A total of 25 players- 14 in the Test squad and 11 reserves- were named to travel to England to face the host from July 8.

“Those who have opted out, I haven’t spoken to them to get the reasons for their decision but they are free to make their own decision,” Dr. Shallow told the Trinidad media outlet.

“It’s great that those who are going, see it as their responsibility to assist by giving the world some cricket after so long. I am sure they are excited to play cricket after being off the field for a while. I heard Jason Holder in an interview say he is excited to play cricket again and this is great.”

From left: Keemo Paul, Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo

Why they opted out

Both the prospect of leaving their families for seven weeks and concerns about how quickly they would be able to see them on their return to the Caribbean at the end of July are understood to be key factors in the three players’ decisions, with uncertainty around the quarantine requirements that may be imposed by their respective governments.

Talking to ESPNcricinfo, Johnny Grave, CWI chief executive, said that the board wanted players who were “comfortable” travelling without any “nagging doubts” as otherwise it might impact their performances.

Grave said he totally understood the doubts and fears expressed by the three players after speaking with Bravo last Friday and receiving emails from the other two players over the weekend.

Grave said Paul, the 22-year-old all-rounder, wrote an email to CWI explaining how difficult a decision it was for him to not travel to England.

“Keemo Paul is the sole breadwinner in his entire household and wider family,” Grave said. “He was really concerned if something happened to him how his family would cope.

“He wrote a personal note to us to explain it was with a heavy heart that he had decided not to tour but that he just didn’t feel comfortable going to England. He wrote passionately about how hard a decision it was for him and how much he loves playing for West Indies, but with consultation with his family he doesn’t feel he can leave them and doesn’t want to go on the tour.”

According Grave, Hetmyer said that he “didn’t feel comfortable from a safety point of view, leaving his home, leaving his family and heading over to England”. Paul and Hetmyer both come from Guyana, where the number of Covid-19 cases is under 200.

As for Bravo, who lives in Trinidad, Grave said he was concerned about the situation in the UK.

“Darren Bravo had concerns about his health and any consequences that it may have on his young family. He also mentioned he made his decision with great remorse as it was always a huge honour for him to play for West Indies. So, yes, perfectly valid reasons and the ones that we fully respect. We were never going to force or try to coerce and we didn’t ask them to reconsider.”

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