The West Indies cricket team has arrived in Manchester to play a three-match Test series against hosts England.

The Carribeans are the first team to have arrived in the UK since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit Europe. Also, this Test series between the two sides would be the first cricket series since the coronavirus lockdown started in March.

The first Test between the two sides would be the first international cricket to be played since Australia defeated New Zealand behind closed doors in a one-day international game at Sydney's SCG on March 13.

This three-match Test series was originally scheduled to start on June 4. The start date has been moved to July 8, and will be played behind closed doors. The first test match would be played at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

The second and third matches will be played at Old Trafford on July 16-20 and 24-28, respectively.

Before boarding a charter flight from Antigua, all 39 members of the Windies side, including 25 players, tested negative for COVID-19.

Now that they have arrived in England, the entire squad will be tested again before being put into quarantine at Emirates Old Trafford. There, they would spend about three weeks preparing to take on the hosts.

West Indies captain Jason Holder said, "This is a huge step forward in cricket and in sports in general. A lot has gone into the preparations for what will be a new phase in the game."

West Indies batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer and all-rounder Keemo Paul opted out of the series because of concerns regarding the coronavirus.

Darren Bravo and Jason Holder
Darren Bravo and Jason Holder

The number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the UK is far higher than that in the Caribbean.

West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite told BBC that the statistics caused "some scepticism" among some players about the tour. He also admitted that although players are eager to return to the field, they want to be sure of the health and safety situation.

Reportedly, the England and Wales Cricket Board has been in talks with the Indian and South African cricket boards to host a tri-nation tournament later this year.

The Indian team was supposed to travel to England during the summer to play a bilateral series comprising of three Twenty20s and three ODIs against England, which remains postponed for the time being amidst the coronavirus pandemic.