PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jun 1, CMC – Cricket West Indies has outlined some of the strict protocols which will govern the proposed tour of England, stressing it would not have backed plans for the three-Test series unless it was totally convinced the novel measures could keep players and staff completely safe.Speaking here last weekend, CWI chief executive Johnny Grave said both the regional governing body and the host England and Wales Cricket Board had gone to extreme lengths to develop and implement critical social distancing and sanitisation protocols for the seven-week tour, to mitigate against the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.Pointing to an increased touring party, a private charter to the United Kingdom, guaranteed “bio-secure” facilities, and the addition of a medical doctor to the touring party, Grave reiterated that the health and safety of players was the utmost priority and would not be compromised at any stage.“The plan at the moment is to depart from Antigua where most of the LIAT aircraft are based at the moment so we have one charter that will come across from Kingston [with the Jamaican players] to Antigua and one aircraft will fly from here in Antigua down to Guyana and then work its way back up [with players from the southern Caribbean],” Grave told i95FM Sports here, adding that all 25 players and members of management would be tested for COVID-19 in the Caribbean before flying out.“All of the players will immediately get on a transatlantic charter to the UK. It’s a private charter, the aircraft being completely remodelled with only 40 business class seats, with social distancing between each seat. “It’s a big plane but only 40 seats so there will be plenty of room and very safe, and it will only be the players and team management that are accompanying them on that flight.”West Indies will be based at Old Trafford, pictured in the background here.He added: “Because we’ve got 25 players – and obviously we don’t want anything to happen medically – we’re travelling with an extra physiotherapist and extra massage therapist.“There are two reasons to have an extra massage therapist and physio because they’re absolutely key especially for our fast bowlers in what will be three back-to-back Test matches. “We’re also travelling with a doctor from the Caribbean as well so we’ll have a doctor/physician assigned to the team, full time dedicated to us. He will travel with the team and be with them all the time.”Grave said the other reason for the including the extra physio and therapist was simply to provide backup personnel.On arrival in the UK, the touring party will be transported in three to four separate coaches to Old Trafford in Manchester where they will then undergo quarantine in a hotel located at the storied cricket ground.During that time, players will kick off their final preparations for the first Test which is scheduled for the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. The last two Tests have been carded for Old Trafford, subject to final approval.“They will be the only team that’s there [at Old Trafford]. It will be completely private – private use for the West Indies team for three weeks,” the Englishman explained.“We’re flying over with as many as 25 players so we’ll be able to play practice matches and train during which will be a two-week official quarantine, followed by another week of training before we head down to what we think will be the venue for first Test at Southampton.”The tour had been scheduled for last month but became a casualty of the ongoing pandemic which has already forced the cessation of all cricket globally.If it comes off, the series will the first set of international cricket played in nearly three months, and the first-ever “bio-secure” tour behind closed doors.For its part, the UK has been particularly hard hit by the virus, with 276 000 recorded infections and just over 39 000 deaths.But Grave said with the cases in the UK on a “sharp downward spiral”, CWI were convinced the tour could be success.“We wouldn’t have contemplated this tour at all, we wouldn’t have taken any recommendation to our Board of Directors [last Thursday] unless our medical advisory committee made up of some very experienced doctors who poured over hundreds of pages of detailed plans [hadn’t thought it was safe],” he said.“If this wasn’t safe, if we thought the players were going to be at any greater risk than they would be if they were staying at home in the Caribbean, then we wouldn’t have contemplated this tour. “I think the cases in the UK seem to be on the sharp downward spiral so we hope that by the time the team get there the week after next, the situation in the UK is better and obviously throughout the tour it continues to improve.”He continued: “But within this bio-secure environment, on these private charters, staying in a cricket ground where this is a hotel where no one else will be able to get in unless they’ve been tested, I think they players will be very, very safe.“I’ve had assurances from very experienced doctors from within the UK and our whole medical panel here in the Caribbean.”
Redshirt senior striker Alex Anthony gets by a Stanford defender. USC lost 3-1 on Sunday in its penultimate regular-season game. Photo by Alex Zhang | Daily TrojanThe fifth-ranked women’s soccer team hosted No. 1 Stanford on Sunday at McAlister Field, falling 3-1 after beating the Cardinal 3-0 in the same fixture last season.The match was set to be a thriller on USC’s Senior Night, with two undefeated Pac-12 teams battling late into the season. Stanford entered the game with a 9-0-0 conference record compared to the Trojans’ 8-0-1 mark.But Stanford quieted the crowd in the 15th minute, drawing first blood. Cardinal midfielder Jaye Boissiere landed a cross from the top corner of the 18-yard box onto the head of Kiki Pickett. Just outside the 18-yard box, Pickett redirected the ball toward the bottom-right corner of the Trojan goal — just out of the reach of redshirt freshman goalkeeper Kaylie Collins — to grant the Cardinal an early 1-0 lead.USC quickly responded just two minutes later. With her back to the net, redshirt junior midfielder Sydney Myers received a pass from sophomore defender Julia Bigham. Myers found the equalizer with a quick turn inside the penalty box and a low shot rifled through traffic to the near post. The goal marked Myers’ second of the season — her first came a month ago in a 4-0 win over Oregon State.In the 26th minute, going toe-to-toe with freshman forward Tara McKeown, Cardinal junior midfielder Michelle Xiao beat McKeown on the outside and delivered an arcing ball just underneath the Trojans’ crossbar to once again take the lead. The remainder of the first half was scoreless thanks to a fantastic flying save from Collins on a header from freshman forward Civanna Kuhlmann. With some words of wisdom from head coach Keidane McAlpine, USC was able to regroup and come out flying in the second half. McAlpine said the main focus of his team talk was being aggressive.“We wanted to apply more pressure to their backline, and that was probably the biggest change in the second half,” McAlpine said. “It created enough chances. We just didn’t take them.”The aggressive mentality and playstyle produced several scoring opportunities for the Women of Troy — none of which were converted into goals. But the Trojan backline played lockdown defense throughout the second half and were able to keep their team in the game. Collins faced 18 shots in the match — her highest tally this season — and saved seven. But after making comebacks a habit throughout this fall, the Women of Troy did not respond on Sunday, and Stanford netted its second unanswered goal.Despite the strong defensive performance, the Cardinal sealed the game in the 63rd minute with its third goal on the day, when Catarina Macario sent a bending free kick into the top-right corner beyond a sprawling Collins. Sunday marked the first game since Aug. 19, 2016 — last year’s season-opener against Santa Clara — that USC has conceded 3 goals in one game. The loss to the Cardinal was the Trojans’ first against a Pac-12 team in 2017, and their conference record fell to 8-1-1. The Women of Troy will now prepare for their final game of the regular season on Friday, when they face off against crosstown rival No. 2 UCLA. “We have to play a full 90-minute game,” redshirt junior Sydney Myers said. “We have to match the aggression and give our 100-percent effort the whole game. I think we are going to be just as good as we were last year.”The Trojans fell 1-0 to the Bruins at the StubHub Center last season, and they look to avoid a repeat this Friday in Westwood against a dominant UCLA team.
Saudi Arabia signed 35 economic cooperation agreements with China worth a total of $28 billion at a joint investment forum during the visit, Saudi state news agency SPA said. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman cemented a $10 billion deal for a refining and petrochemical complex in China on Friday, meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping who urged joint efforts to counter extremism and terror. In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before proceeding to their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Friday, February 22, 2019. (AP) London best pest control The Saudi delegation, including top executives from state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco, arrived on Thursday on an Asia tour that has already seen the kingdom pledged investment of $20 billion in Pakistan and seek to make additional investments in India’s refining industry.“China is a good friend and partner to Saudi Arabia,” President Xi Jinping told the crown prince in front of reporters.“The special nature of our bilateral relationship reflects the efforts you have made,” added Xi, who has made stepping up China’s presence in the Middle East a key foreign policy objective, despite its traditional low-key role there.The crown prince said Saudi Arabia’s relations with China dated back “a very long time in the past.”“In the hundreds, even thousands, of years, the interactions between the sides have been friendly. Over such a long period of exchanges with China, we have never experienced any problems with China,” he said.Crown Prince Mohammed, who has come under fire in the West following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October, said Saudi Arabia saw great opportunities with China.“The Silk Road initiative and China’s strategic orientation are very much in line with the kingdom’s Vision 2030,” he said according to SPA, referring to Saudi Arabia’s sweeping economic reform programme.Trade between the countries increased by 32 percent last year, he said. Saudi Arabia also said it was working to add Chinese to the curriculum in Saudi schools and universities.“The introduction of Chinese to the curriculum is an important step towards the opening of new horizons for students,” the government said in a statement.China has had to step carefully in relations with Riyadh, since Beijing also has close ties with Saudi Arabia’s regional foe, Iran.China is also wary of criticism from Muslim countries about its camps in the heavily Muslim far western region of Xinjiang, which the government says are for de-radicalisation purposes and rights groups call internment camps.Xi told the crown prince the two countries must strengthen international cooperation on de-radicalisation to “prevent the infiltration and spread of extremist thinking,” Chinese state TV reported.Saudi Arabia respected and supported China’s right to protect its own security and take counterterror and de-radicalisation steps, the crown prince told Xi, according to the same report, and was willing to increase cooperation.Meeting the crown prince earlier on Friday, Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng said the two countries should enhance exchanges on their experiences in de-radicalisation, China’s official Xinhua news agency said in a separate report.Chinese state media made no direct mention of Xinjiang in their stories on the crown prince’s meetings.Deals signedAramco agreed to form a joint venture with Chinese defence conglomerate Norinco to develop a refining and petrochemical complex in the northeastern Chinese city of Panjin, saying the project was worth more than $10 billion.The partners would form a company called Huajin Aramco Petrochemical Co as part of a project that would include a 300,000-barrels per day (bpd) refinery with a 1.5-million-metric tonnes per year ethylene cracker, Aramco said.Aramco will supply up to 70 percent of the crude feedstock for the complex, which is expected to start operations in 2024.The investments could help Saudi Arabia regain its place as the top oil exporter to China, a position Russia has held for the last three years. Saudi Aramco is set to boost market share by signing supply deals with non-state Chinese refiners.Aramco also signed an agreement to buy a nine percent stake in Zhejiang Petrochemical, Saudi state news agency SPA said . This formalised a previously announced plan to gain a stake in a 400,000-bpd refinery and petrochemicals complex in Zhoushan, south of Shanghai.China sees “enormous potential” in Saudi Arabia’s economy and wants more high-tech cooperation, State Councillor Wang Yi, the Chinese government’s top diplomat, said on Thursday.But China was not seeking to play politics in the Middle East, the widely read state-run tabloid, the Global Times, said in an editorial.“China won’t be a geopolitical player in the Middle East. It has no enemies and can cooperate with all countries in the region,” said the paper, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily.“China’s increasing influence in the Middle East comes from pure friendly cooperation. Such a partnership will be welcomed by more countries in the Middle East.”Source: TRTWorld and agencies