Three players will miss out on the upcoming Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) because one of them has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the two others were in close contact with him.
St. Kitts/Nevis player Dennis Bulli, a Jamaican tested positive and because he was practising with Jamaica Tallawahs players Andre McCarty and Javon Royal they had to miss out as well.
This was confirmed by manager of the Jamaica Tallawahs Jefferson Miller on Monday. Speaking to Guardian Media Sports he said: "None of my players has the COVID but because two of them practised in close quarters with Dennis Buli of the St. Kitts/Nevis Tallawahs they were removed from our team out of caution."
Miller added that he has already gotten two replacements on his line up for the tournament that will be played entirely in Trinidad and Tobago from August 18 and ends on September 10.
He said, "We have decided to bring in Jermaine Blackwood and Ramaal Lewis in their places and they will be coming into T&T for the tournament."
The government of T&T has adopted strict COVID-19 guidelines for the players entering the country and hence none of the franchises is taking any chances. The players were due to touch down on a chartered flight from St. Lucia at 11.55 pm last night from St. Lucia which was chosen as a hub for the international players. They all gathered at Sandals Resorts International and has been there for varying amounts of time over the past week. They were expected to be shuttled straight to the Hilton Hotel where they would go into self-quarantine for the next seven days. After this, they will be tested and then allowed to mingle in small groups. After 14 days they will then be tested again and then they will be able to join up with the rest of their team to prepare for the tournament.
On Monday, some of the local players on the TKR team trained at the Queen's Park Oval in Port-of-Spain. They will continue to train by themselves until they are joined by their international teammates. Assistant coach of the team Imran Jan will be putting the TKR through their drills until coach Brendan McCullum comes out of quarantine.
Last Friday Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley made it very clear that the cricketers coming in will have to abide by the strict quarantine policies or face the possibility of being thrown out of the tournament.
"The CPL is a bubble that will not be affecting the population and hence a player cannot leave that bubble and go down the road for a drink. We are very serious about this. Everything that will go on around the CPL will go on in a bubble that does not interact with the national population. They would be coming into the country under the protocols of entry all having tested negative before and even in the hotel groups of seven [will be required] and after seven days they will move on.
"They will then go to the venue where they will not be able to mix with the population. It is just like the way we re-opened factories and cloth stores. It is being operated in a bubble and it will be just that, away from the population."
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police (CoP) Gary Griffith, who chaired a security meeting of all stakeholders involved on Saturday for the 2020 edition, is advising the public that all measures are being put in place to ensure the health and safety of all local and international players.
In a news release following the meeting, Griffith stated: "All teams will have to undergo a quarantine period of 14 days during which they will be monitored and tested by officials of the Ministry of Health. All teams will be staying under quarantine at the Hilton."
T&T will be hosting the entire tournament and Commissioner Griffith said, "That all teams will be kept in sanitized zones which are termed "bubbles". He points out that fans and family members will not be allowed to visit training sessions, matches, or the hotel. No spectators will be allowed at the venues during the games."
The tournament will feature six franchise teams - the Barbados Tridents, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jamaica Tallawahs, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, St Lucia Zouks and Trinbago Knight Riders - will play matches at the Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, and at the Brian Lara Academy, Tarouba, South Trinidad.
The opening match takes place between the Trinbago Knight Riders and the Guyana Amazon Warriors at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, San Fernando from 10 am on August 18, followed by the defending champions the Barbados Trident against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots from 5:30 pm.