A Test series between England and the West Indies has moved a step closer ©Getty Images

The return of international cricket has moved a step closer after the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Board approved in principal the team's proposed tour of England.

However, CWI also announced a 50 per cent reduction in all salaries as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought international cricket to a halt and is causing a global economic downturn.

If all goes according to plan, England and the West Indies will play three Test matches behind closed doors, with the first starting on July 8.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) intends to hold the matches in a "bio-secure" environment at the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford, two stadiums boasting hotel facilities where the teams can stay.

CWI said its decision to support the tour comes after detailed discussions with the ECB over anti-coronavirus measures it will install, as well as consultations with its Medical Advisory Committee.

A mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival in England is also going to have to be served by the West Indian team and support staff.

Playing international matches should help with CWI's cashflow problems, which have prompted the organisation to cut pay in half.

The pay cuts will come into force from July, with all CWI funding also halved.

All organised cricket is currently suspended in England ©Getty Images
All organised cricket is currently suspended in England ©Getty Images

"This pandemic is hurting every West Indian and this decision to cut staff and player incomes has been a very difficult one to make; one that will impact so many members of the cricketing family around the Caribbean," CWI President Ricky Skerritt said.

"This business continuity plan unfortunately requires all stakeholders to make a huge sacrifice, but I am confident that it won’t be long before CWI will be in a position to ensure that the sport we love can restart and be enjoyed once again by the thousands of cricket fans across the region and diaspora."

In preparation for a return to cricket, England recently named a 55-player squad to resume training individually and in small groups. 

With the ECB hoping to also play some international limited-overs cricket this season, a large squad has been selected so that players will not be asked to play in both a Test series and a white-ball one, given they will be staying away from their families for a prolonged period.

West Indies players are expected to be offered the chance to skip the proposed tour of England if they have safety concerns or do not wish to be kept in a bio-secure bubble for weeks on end.