West Indies players sanctioned for breaching isolation rules

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (AP) — The West Indies cricket squad has been stripped of the right to train while in managed isolation after players were found to have breached rules around their 14-day quarantine.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health said CCTV footage from the team’s Christchurch hotel showed players mingling in hallways and sharing food in violation of managed isolation regulations. The ministry said all incidents occurred within the hotel and there was no danger to the public.

The West Indies squad, which has completed 12 of its scheduled 14 days of isolation under COVID-19 regulations, will not be able to train again until its full managed isolation period has been completed. The isolation period might be extended if any further concerns arise, the ministry said.

West Indies Cricket chief executive Johnny Grave told New Zealand media it is “hugely disappointing that players that knew the protocol completely broke that”.

“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,” he said. “I’m disappointed that they would let themselves down and the team down and potentially put the tour at risk and the New Zealand public at risk.”

File photo of the West Indies squad. PHOTO: AP

Grave said an investigation has been launched and all players will be interviewed.

Grave said he sympathised with players, coping with a difficult environment while in quarantine. But the squad had been warned of serious ramifications if quarantine “facilities” were breached.

“We certainly made it very clear that if any player breached a quarantine facility … that would be probably taken outside of our hands … that would have resulted in a player being sent home immediately,” he said.

There is no suggestion any player left the quarantine facility, only that some may have socialised inside the facility which rules do not allow.

Players were tested yesterday for the third time since their arrival in New Zealand. If the tests are negative, the team is set to leave isolation tomorrow and travel to Queenstown for two warm-up matches against New Zealand A.