(Reuters) - England players will wear training shirts bearing the names of key workers before the start of the first test against the West Indies next month to honour their service during the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's cricket board said on Monday.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said people whose names will feature on the shirts have been nominated by their local cricket clubs and include teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers and carers.
The first test is scheduled to begin in Southampton on July 8, with the last two matches at Old Trafford, as international cricket returns following its suspension in March.
"As we get back to playing the game we love, we want to take the time to honour the brave key workers who went into bat for their country under the toughest circumstances," England skipper Joe Root said in a statement.
"It's only fitting that we use this series as an opportunity to 'raise a bat' in their honour. We'll wear their names with pride."
The ECB said the series would be called the #raisethebat test series in honour of key workers.
"It has been a long and challenging journey to cricket's return and while this pales in comparison to what the country has faced, we hope the #raisethebat test series will bring some enjoyment... to people's lives," ECB CEO Tom Harrison said.
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 304,300 people in the United Kingdom, causing more than 42,600 deaths.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)