Storm Elsa is making its way north west through various parts of the Caribbean
Australia’s preparations for the T20 series against West Indies are facing disruption with St Lucia bracing for the impact of a tropical storm over the next 48 hours.
The island will go into a lockdown early on Friday morning with Australia forced to cancel their training session at Daren Sammy Stadium. The biosecure protocols for the tour already mean the squad are not allowed to leave their hotel except for training and matches.
The storm, which has been named Elsa and has the potential to become a hurricane, currently has wind speeds of 45mph/75kph according to the St Lucia Meteorological Services, who issued a storm warning, and it is forecast to strengthen as it travels west-northwest.
“On the forecast track, the system will pass near Saint Lucia or over the Windward Islands on Friday and move into the Caribbean Sea late Friday,” the advisory stated.
“Elsa is expected to produce rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches or 76 to 152 mm with maximum totals of 10 inches or 254 mm across the Windward Islands on Friday. This increases the potential for landslides and/or flash flooding. Residents and motorists in areas prone to flooding and landslides are advised to take necessary precautions.”
The predicted path of tropical storm Elsa National Hurricane Center
Having had Wednesday’s training session called off due to a storm, Australia managed to practice for the first time on Thursday and are hopeful they will be able to resume their full preparations over the weekend although that depends on the impact of the storm.
“I’m interested to see what is coming our way. There has been a release to the public here to lock down and be safe over the next 24 hours,” Alex Carey said. “Hopefully there’s not too much damage and everyone is safe around St Lucia. At this stage we’ll probably have the day off in terms of training and we’ll see what result comes post-storm in the next 24 hours.”
A tropical storm watch, a lower level of alert, is also in place for Grenada where the West Indies-South Africa T20I series is currently taking place. Antigua, where the West Indies women are playing Pakistan, has a high wind advisory for Friday.
Australia are due to have two intersquad matches next Monday and Wednesday ahead of the start of the T20 series on July 9.
Carey is among the players trying to force his way back into the side having lost his spot during the England series last year and then being unavailable for the New Zealand tour having been selected in the Test squad for South Africa. He is one of three specialist wicketkeepers in the squad alongside Matthew Wade and Josh Philippe while Ben McDermott can also take the gloves.
“Think we’ve got some great options at the top of the order here and we’ve got some really good options through the middle so personally speaking I’ll play any role that that is thrown at me,” he said.
“I think for me it’s not looking too far ahead and basically just looking forward to the next week’s preparation, leaving it up to the selectors whichever way that would like to go with the batting order. There’s a number of guys here who could play either role.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo