The Caribbean Premier League has taken an early hit from the coronavirus pandemic, with three players and a coach being ruled out of the trip to Trinidad as a result.
The Jamaica Observer newspaper reported yesterday that a member of an unnamed CPL franchise tested positive for the virus, while two members of the Jamaica Tallawahs may also have been exposed.
The paper reported that the player who tested positive was among a group of cricketers who had been training under the supervision of Jamaica Scorpions head coach Andre Coley.
Cricket website ESPNcricinfo identified the two Tallawahs players who have been withdrawn as Andre McCarthy and Jeavor Royal. They have been replaced by West Indies Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood and former regional youth spinner Ramaal Lewis.
However, the CPL yesterday preferred to defer making an official statement on the developments for the moment.
Commenting on the positive test, Courtney Francis, chief executive officer of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) told the Observer:“Each player going to Trinidad for the CPL had to be tested, and for that player his result came back positive on Thursday. On account of that we provided evidence to the CPL, and working with the Ministry of Health, we provided what they needed for contact tracing.”
He added: “It’s unfortunate because it could have happened to anybody. And it is very unfortunate for those two (withdrawn) players in particular. There is no evidence, as we speak, that they are ill, but because of how the protocols are set out and for the safety of everyone things had to be done that way.
“As it is, a person would require two-straight negative tests before he or she is cleared, and even then there is the quarantine period, so they obviously would not catch that flight to Trinidad.”
Meanwhile, news came yesterday that St Kitts and Nevis coach, Australian Simon Helmot will miss the tournament after he also tested positive for Covid-19.
“I tested positive five hours before I was to fly out, and I’m shattered that I won’t be able to be part of Patriots this season,” Helmot was quoted as saying.
“I was asymptomatic and my second test has come back negative, but I’m still in home isolation until the department of health and human services give me a green signal.”
Helmot, a former coach with the Trinidad and Tobago franchise added: “Victoria is currently in stage four of lockdown after a recent spike in cases. Because of my quarantine restrictions, I wouldn’t have been able to make it in time for the season owing to the quarantine protocols.
“I’m incredibly thankful to Mahesh Ramani, the franchise owner, and the CPL team of Pete Russell, Tom Moody and the others for working incredibly hard behind the scenes to put it together.”
In addition to Helmot, Patriots assistant coach Malolan Rangarajan is also set to miss the CPL campaign because of obligations to the Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore.
As a result, West Indies fast bowling legend Courtney Walsh and New Zealander Mark O’Donnell will join the Patriots’ coaching staff for the tournament which runs from August 18 to September 10.