Basseterre [Saint Kitts and Nevis], Aug 3 (ANI): Ahead of the upcoming Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 season, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots have brought in former West Indies captain Courtney Walsh and Mark O'Donnell from New Zealand after head coach Simon Helmot and assistant coach Malolan Rangarajan were forced to miss the tournament for different reasons.
Helmot tested positive for COVID-19 on July 27, the day he was to fly out of Melbourne to the Caribbean, while Rangarajan is a talent scout at Royal Challengers Bangalore, and is expected to be involved in the team's pre-season camp in the UAE from the end of August. Rangarajan will, however, continue to assist the Patriots remotely as a strategic consultant, ESPNcricinfo reported.
According to the CPL guidelines, all players and support staff are required to clear COVID-19 tests before they fly out to the Caribbean and fulfil a two-week quarantine period in Trinidad and Tobago, where the entire season will be played.
"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. 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," ESPNcricinfo quoted Helmot as saying.
"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," he added.
The CPL is all set to become the first major cricket league to start amid the coronavirus pandemic from August 18 while the final of the tournament will be played on September 10.
"The 33-match season will be played in Trinidad and Tobago, with all matches taking place across two stadiums in that country. The Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba will host 23 games, including the semi-finals and final, and the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain will have 10 matches," the CPL had said in a statement.
The tournament will take place behind closed doors in a bio-secure environment with a series of stringent protocols in place to protect those involved in the tournament and the wider population from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The first match of CPL 2020 will see last year's runners-up Guyana Warriors taking on Trinbago Knight Riders on August 18. (ANI)