The West Indies Cricket Team has been sanctioned after the New Zealand Ministry of Health found that team members had breached COVID-19 isolation rules. Some of the West Indies Cricket team members were seen on CCTV cameras sharing food and interacting with a separate isolation bubble. The intermingling between different isolated groups meant that the team had breached New Zealand’s isolation rules and thus warranting sanctions. The team will not be able to train for four days as it waits for its isolation period to lapse.
New Zealand has had one of the strictest COVID-19 lockdowns in the world and is currently only accepting international arrivals of citizens or residents who are returning to the country. The country requires that those who arrive isolate for 14 days, as a way to protect the country from COVID-19. The West Indies Cricket Team had already done over a week and a half of isolation in a Christchurch hotel and had been isolated in bubbles of 20. Essentially, 20 individuals are placed in a single bubble where they can only interact with members of that same isolation bubble. The team had been allowed to train during this time as members of a single bubble would leave the hotel to go and train together and then come back.
The team’s members, however, breached isolation rules, and different bubbles were observed to interact and some members seen sharing food with individuals of a different bubble. As this contravened the isolation rules they had agreed to, the team was sanctioned and lost its training privileges. The team was disappointed by the reprimand but understood that they had to adhere to the set rules. For the team, even being in New Zealand required that they were given a special exemption by the New Zealand government. The team will miss four days of training and according to their manager, this could impact their play.
The West Indies Cricket team was in New Zealand to play the Black Caps of New Zealand in three matches held in the Twenty20 Cricket format. The first T20I match is slated for 27 November 2020 and the other two on the 29th and 30th. These games will be followed by two test matches in early December. The West Indies Cricket Team is managed by Cricket West Indies. New Zealand has had to make tough decisions this year due to COVID-19. The country’s rugby team, the All Blacks, are slated to miss Christmas while isolating; after returning from Auckland from a test match with the Wallabies of Australia.
The New Zealand rugby team is slated to play the Wallabies on the 12th of December in The Rugby Championship tournament. It will mean that on returning home, the team will have to isolate for 14 days until 27 December, hence missing Christmas. New Zealand’s government has hinted that the team may not be given an exemption and this could mean that the team members will not have the chance to celebrate Christmas with their families. The team’s coach, Ian Foster, recently said that some of the players had protested and pleaded not to play during the matches that would delay their return to New Zealand.
2020 has been a tough year for sport due to COVID-19. The pandemic saw the Springboks of South Africa withdraw from the Rugby Championship after concerns about the safety of their players, COVID-19 travel restrictions in their country, and also the welfare of their players. The withdrawal means that the 2020 Rugby Championship title will only be contested by New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina. The tournament is organized by SANZAAR, which is a body that oversees The Rugby Championship and Super Rugby tournaments in Rugby Union.