New Zealand Cricket has confirmed that it has found the West Indian squad to have repeatedly violated quarantine rules and as a result, have taken away practice privileges from the touring squad. NZC revealed that the West Indian players were found socializing in the hallway and sharing food.
Playing cricket in these pandemic times has been a tough task to manage, especially with all the restrictions which cut off the players from the outside world. Living in such an environment can be extremely challenging and in recent times, players have admitted that it will tough to continue playing cricket in this environment as it is affecting their mental health. Such is the nature of bio-bubbles that players are not even allowed to meet their own teammates.
Now, in a new development regarding the bio-bubble and pandemic induced restrictions, New Zealand Cricket has confirmed that it has found the touring West Indies squad to have repeatedly violated quarantine rules in Christchurch after some members of the squad were found socialising in the hallways of their hotel and sharing food between the two separate bubbles that the touring party had been separated into. As a result, NZC announced that all members will now be denied training privileges for the remainder of their time in the bubble, which will end on Friday.
"Following an investigation, members of the team were confirmed to have repeatedly broken managed isolation rules. Many of these incidents have been captured on CCTV and have also been reported by staff. The incidents include groups mingling and sharing food. It's important to note that all incidents occurred within the hotel facility and there is no risk to the public," the ministry of health said on Wednesday (November 11) as quoted by Cricbuzz.
"As with other sports teams that have come to New Zealand, the West Indies cricket team were given certain exemptions from the managed isolation rules which apply to everyone else. 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. Keeping Covid-19 out of our communities and keeping our staff safe depends on it. They didn't do that, despite agreeing to abide by the parameters of the exemption," Director-general of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said.
NZC too was supportive of the statements from the Health Ministry and stated that they will be in complete cooperation with the government agencies to ensure these violations don’t repeat.
"There is no evidence, or suggestion, that any members of the touring party left the facility, or that any unauthorised persons accessed the facility. NZC is supportive of the Ministry of Health and Government position. NZC will continue working with the West Indies team and management, and relevant Government agencies to ensure there is no repeat of these violations," NZC said in a statement.
The West Indian team will start off with the series of three T20Is to be played at Eden Park before the teams move to Mt Maunganui. The T20I series will be followed by a two-Test series in Hamilton and Wellington respectively. After being informed about the incident, Cricket West Indies released a statement stating that they are in complete support of New Zealand’s health ministry.
"This morning, Cricket West Indies (CWI) was informed that some members of our New Zealand touring party had contravened the strict COVID-19 protocols within the team's Managed Isolation Facility in Christchurch,” Cricket West Indies said in their statement.
"The New Zealand Ministry of Health has advised us that all members of the West Indies touring party will now be unable to train for the remainder of the quarantine period and will have to complete their quarantine within the Managed Isolation Facility only. CWI is in full support of the New Zealand Ministry of Health's position."