Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave, left, and West Indies batsman Shai Hope. Randy Brooks

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Cricket West Indies is anticipating a financial windfall this year, with four major home tours expected to provide a much needed injection of money for the cash-strapped Antigua-based body.

Sri Lanka, South Africa, Australia and Pakistan are all expected in the Caribbean later in the year, marking the first home series since Ireland toured for a mixture of One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals last January.

The region had been scheduled to host several home tours in 2020 but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the entire itinerary to be scrapped.

CWI chief executive Johnny Grave said in the wake of the disappointments last year, 2021 would see an “unprecedented” year where West Indies played nearly all of their cricket at home.

“The big thing that I’m looking forward to financially is the fact this [upcoming Bangladesh tour] is our last away obligation for 11 months,” Grave said in a television interview here.

“We will after this tour host – after our Super50 Cup – a tour by Sri Lanka, followed by South Africa, Australia and Pakistan before the Caribbean Premier League next year.

“So this is our last away tour obligation [in Bangladesh], and to have four home tours in a year is unprecedented and that will have positive financial implications and impact on Cricket West Indies which is well needed.”

The arrival of COVID-19 in the Caribbean first disrupted the first class championship in March, leaving CWI with little choice but to abort the final two rounds of the competition.

And with the region going into lockdown in the following months, tours by New Zealand in July and South Africa in July and August, had to be postponed.

Under the current International Cricket Council arrangement, only host boards benefit financially from bilateral series and the postponements caused a worsening of the CWI financial position, forcing the institution into salary cuts for players and staff.

Both West Indies men and women undertook international tours, however, with the Test side making history when they faced England in a three-match series to mark the resumption of international cricket following a global lockdown.

The women also toured England for five T20 Internationals while the men again saw action in New Zealand for three T20 Internationals and a two-Test tour in November and December.

And with the men’s side poised for their third tour amid the ongoing pandemic, Grave said it had been critical CWI honoured all its international obligations, pertaining to the ICC Test and one-day championships.

“The One-Day Internationals are part of the ICC Super League, which is the qualification process for the next 50-over World Cup which takes place in 2023, and the Test matches are part of the World Test Championship,” Grave pointed out.

“So we had a contractual obligation to fulfill the tours under that programme and clearly once we’ve gone through that robust process to ensure that the players are safe [on overseas tours], we’re duty bound and contracted to tour.

“At the moment, there are no direct financial gain for West Indies to tour Bangladesh or go on any away tour because of the way international cricket is structured.

“So This [Bangladesh tour] is our last away tour obligation – we would’ve met all of our away tour obligations under that contract that would have been signed along with other Full Members of the ICC.”

West Indies leave the region next week for three ODIs and two Tests against Bangladesh, in a tour that runs from January 20 to February 15.

(CMC)