Windies coach apologises for COVID breach

Ben McKay
·2-min read

West Indies cricket coach Phil Simmons has apologised to New Zealand health officials after several of his players breached COVID-19 safety protocols, adding his team were scrabbling to get up to speed having had their training privileges removed.

The West Indies team had been allowed to train in small groups while undergoing a mandatory 14-day isolation, but the Ministry of Health revoked that privilege on Wednesday after they discovered players had shared food and socialised together.

"I have to apologise to the New Zealand public and the government who have allowed us to come here," Simmons told Newshub.

"It's embarrassing from our point of view."

Simmons added the players would be subject to internal sanctions.

On Thursday, NZ Cricket announced all players and support staff tested negative from their final COVID-19 test, conducted on Wednesday.

The negative results to all three mandatory tests allows the touring party to leave their managed isolation on Friday to travel to Queenstown, where they will play a three-day match and a four-day match against New Zealand A.

On Wednesday, Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave called the four lost days of training "a huge blow to our preparation".

Simmons said they might be a little slow to get their conditioning and match fitness back.

"We were just getting to the levels that we would normally start at, but coming from no cricket, we had to start slower," he said.

The Ministry of Health has confimed the training bans will not apply to the second batch of touring players to arrive in New Zealand.

On Thursday, the nine West Indies players to have played in the Indian Premier League touched down in Auckland and will undergo a new 14-day isolation in Christchurch before meeting up with their teammates.

West Indies face New Zealand in the first of three Twenty20 internationals in Auckland on November 27 before the two-Test series starts on December 3.