By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies fast bowler Kenneth Benjamin has warned against the imposing of any sanctions on those players who would have broken protocol while in a New Zealand bubble.
Cricket West Indies announced Wednesday that it had launched an international investigation into the circumstances under which members of the Windies touring party breached strict Covid-19 protocols within the team’s Managed Isolation Facility in Christchurch.
Benjamin said that although the players were wrong to have put others in harm’s way, it would benefit those players or the team to punish anyone at this juncture.
“Yes, the players are wrong and there is no excuse but I think that they can even be punished when they get back home. They are over there [New Zealand] and it can’t be easy but I don’t think we should take on this thing now about punishment. Let the [players] stay and when they come back you can deal with them by suspending them from the Super 50, or you can ban them,” he said.
The breach has resulted in the team members being unable to train for their final days of isolation prior to their continued preparations for the upcoming T20 series that begin on November 27.
There is, however, no evidence that any members of the touring party left the facility, or that any unauthorised persons accessed it, reports said.
Benjamin said that from his understanding, the major issue stemmed from the fact that players from the T20 squad may have mixed with those from the Test team.
“I don’t know how they separate the groups, but it is people from the two groups that mixed because if all the Test players mixed that would be okay as far as I am reading, but it is some people who play T20 in one bubble crossed over to the Test bubble and that was where it was picked up on camera and that was where the concern was,” he said.
The West Indies touring party all returned two negative COVID-19 tests before leaving the Caribbean, and underwent two further tests since they have been in New Zealand. All the results were negative.