Otago Daily Times

Team breach disappoint­s


CHRISTCHUR­CH: Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave is ‘‘bitterly disappoint­ed’’ team members broke managed isolation rules at a Christchur­ch facility.

Several members of the squad — believed to be four or five players — were caught on CCTV sharing food and socialisin­g in hallways at the Chateau on the Park hotel.

While there was no risk to the public as no member of the West Indian touring party left the isolation facility, the breach led to the Ministry of Health revoking the team’s exemption to train while in isolation.

The team was due to arrive in Queenstown tomorrow.

‘‘The West Indies cricket team were given certain exemptions from the managed isolation rules which apply to everyone else,’’ directorge­neral of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.

‘‘This included being able to be in larger bubbles and train in preparatio­n for their internatio­nal games.

‘‘It is a privilege to come here but in return they have to stick to the rules.’’

Dr Bloomfield comments came as the ministry announced one new Covid19 case in managed isolation yesterday.

That case arrived on November 3 from Romania via Qatar and Australia.

They are a family member of a previous case from managed isolation and had already been transferre­d to the Auckland quarantine facility.

The West Indies team now cannot train in its final three days in isolation, which Mr

Grave acknowledg­ed was a “huge blow”, but one that came without argument.

‘‘We’re in full support of the actions taken by the New Zealand Ministry of Health that for the remaining quarantine period we’ll be unable to train,’’ he said.

Cricket West Indies was investigat­ing the incident, and Mr Grave believed the breach came from a mixing of the team’s two training bubbles.

The team had been able to train in isolation since day four of its stay, and moved into two bubbles at a maximum of 20 people from day seven.

With the West Indies having successful­ly completed internatio­nal cricket’s first ‘‘bubble’’ tour when it visited England in July, Mr Grave said the players should have known how to deal with the demands of isolation.

‘‘My disappoint­ment is mainly the fact that our players are the most experience­d in the world in dealing with quarantine measures.

‘‘Here — because of the fact that the New Zealand Government have done such a good job with Covid — the carrot was for players to go through a normal tour.’’

While understand­ing the hard conditions for the players, Mr Grave expected better.

‘‘I am sympatheti­c, but at the same time I am bitterly disappoint­ed.’’

They potentiall­y put the tour at risk and the New Zealand public at risk, he said.

The West Indies was still set to leave managed isolation tomorrow, assuming its final Covid tests come back negative today.

The team was scheduled to travel to Queenstown ahead of two warmup matches against New Zealand A.

The team was scheduled to take on the Black Caps in two Twenty20s and three test matches, the first T20 on November 27 at Eden park.

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