Everest Premier League postponed over coronavirus fears

By Sports Desk March 05, 2020

The Everest Premier League (EPL), which was expected to see the likes of West Indies star Chris Gayle, has been postponed over fears of spreading the coronavirus.

The tournament, which was slated to be held from March 14-28 at TU Cricket Ground, in Nepal, became just the latest in a number of sporting events to disrupted by the global pandemic.  The decision comes on the heels of the National Sports Council (NSC)’s decision to halt all the sports-related activities in view of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The NSC’s decision came on the heels of the government instituting a ban on holding mass meetings and gatherings. 

The 40-year-old Gayle was set to be among a host of other stars booked for the tournament.  The list also included retired West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Smith.  Gayle was slated to represent the Pokhara Rhinos with Smith drafted by the Bhairahawa Gladiators.

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    The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the government of Trinidad & Tobago have come to an agreement for the whole of the 2020 season to be played in that country. The tournament will run from Tuesday 18 August to Thursday 10 September.

    The CPL will have a full season and will feature overseas and Caribbean players with the standard higher than it has ever been with the likes of Rashid Khan, Chris Lynn, Carlos Brathwaite, Dwayne Bravo, Alex Hales and Kieron Pollard all set to take part.

    Last year’s CPL had a combined broadcast and digital viewership of 312 million and with the tournament being the first franchise T20 event to take place in several months there will be more interest than ever.

    The CPL have worked with the Trinidad & Tobago Ministry of Health and the CPL’s own board of medical advisors to create protocols which minimize risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus to the population of Trinidad and in amongst those who will be travelling to Trinidad & Tobago from overseas.

    All teams and officials will be housed in one hotel and everyone will be subject to strict quarantine protocols for the first two weeks they are in the country. Everyone travelling from overseas will be tested for COVID-19, before departure and then again on arrival in Trinidad.

    Teams and officials will be put into “households” where social distancing will need to be in place. There will be smaller clusters within each household where these measures can be relaxed. However, if any member of this cluster display signs of COVID-19 at any time during the tournament all members of that cluster will be expected to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time that a member of that cohort first shows symptoms.

    All members of the CPL party will be subject to regular temperature checks and will be re-tested for the virus throughout their stay in Trinidad and again before departure.

    Pete Russell, COO of Hero CPL, said: "We would like to express our gratitude and thanks to The Hon. Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, The Hon. Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister for Sport and Youth Affairs, The Hon. Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister for Health, Dr. Roshan Parasram, Chief Medical Officer for Trinidad & Tobago, Douglas Camacho, Chairman of Sport TT and their respective ministries and organisations for their support and guidance in making this all possible.

    “We are really excited to bring high-class cricket to the Caribbean and to the rest of the world. The standard of players involved in this year’s tournament will be higher than ever and we can’t wait to get the tournament under way.”

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    West Indies racked up a 114-run first innings lead against England to take control of the first Test at the Rose Bowl on day three.

    Kraigg Brathwaite (65) and Shane Dowrich (61) led the way for the tourists, who benefitted from valuable contributions all the way down the order as they reached 318 all out on Friday.

    That was in stark contrast to England's efforts as they were skittled for 204, although openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley dug in to negotiate a tricky evening stint and reach stumps at 15-0.

    Having made the most of bowling at England under leaden skies on Thursday, West Indies capitalised on the clouds parting to steadily compile a position of strength.

    Denied helpful overhead conditions, the home attack were confronted by a fairly benign surface – one that meant Jofra Archer being denied an lbw verdict against Shai Hope due to overstepping was an error they could ill afford.

    That moment in itself did not prove too costly as Hope was caught at slip by Ben Stokes for 16 after swiping at Dom Bess, the off-spinner who bowled tidily and also dismissed Jermaine Blackwood to claim 2-51.

    But Archer would end the innings wicketless, with stand-in skipper Stokes (4-49) and James Anderson (3-62) sharing seven scalps.

    Brathwaite could not turn his half-century into something more substantial, as he shuffled across to be trapped in front by Stokes, while Shamarh Brooks drove delightfully before edging Anderson behind to Jos Buttler for 39.

    Roston Chase took on the anchor role – in stark contrast to Blackwood's devil-may-care efforts – and was trapped on the crease by Anderson when three shy of a richly deserved fifty.

    Stokes removed opposite number Jason Holder cheaply and bowled Alzarri Joseph for a breezy 18, with Shannon Gabriel falling in similar fashion to Mark Wood.

    Dowrich, who punished the England pacemen whenever they erred in line or length, was the penultimate man to fall, edging Stokes through to Buttler.

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    Historically, this rivalry has been dominated by West Indies pacemen, so there was obvious excitement around England fielding two men capable of frequently hitting 90 miles per hour and beyond. However, Wood and Archer turned in combined figures of 1-135. The pair will surely fire in tandem at Test level soon – maybe even in the second innings here – but their struggles jarred as a brooding Stuart Broad watched on from the sidelines.

    MOMENT OF THE DAY – ANDERSON HANGS ON TO REMOVE CAVALIER BLACKWOOD

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