A new England squad will be named as a starting team forced into isolation due to three players and four backstage staff testing positive for Covid-19; Ben Stokes will return to the England team as captain; England play Pakistan in the first ODI in Cardiff on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Cricket
England have been forced to select a new team for Pakistan’s ODI series after seven positive Covid-19 tests put the entire team in isolation.
Three England players and four backroom employees tested positive for Covid-19, and the rest of the team were considered close contacts.
The first ODI is on Thursday in Cardiff, live Sky Sports Cricketand will move on.
Ben Stokes will return to the England team as captain after several weeks out with a broken finger, even though Eoin Morgan initially said it would be too early to consider the all-rounder.
The rest of the new team to face Pakistan will be named later on Tuesday.
Chris Silverwood was not in charge of the ODI series against Sri Lanka as he was taking a break and will be available to return as head coach.
“We are prepared for this moment, and we are aware that the emergence of the Delta variant, coupled with our move away from strict enforcement of biosecure environments, could increase the chances of an outbreak,” said Tom Harrison, CEO. at the ECB.
“We made a strategic choice to try and adapt the protocols, in order to support the general well-being of our players and administration staff who have spent much of the 14 months living in very restricted conditions.
“Overnight we have worked quickly to identify a new team, and we are grateful to Ben Stokes, who will regain the role of captain in England.
“We also recognize the impact this news will have on our first-class counties and their men’s squads and we thank them, along with our partners Sky and Royal London, for their continued support in tackling this pandemic.”
Sky Sports cricket expert and former England captain Nasser Hussain praised the ECB for the way they have handled the Covid bubble, but says the latest outbreak will cause “absolute chaos.”
“It shows how well England and the ECB have done over the last 15 months during the Covid era to keep it out of the bubble, be it the bubble fully closed, something that has eased slightly and I think they had to ease that bubble. a little, “he said Sky Sports News.
“Cricketers have been going around the world in bubbles and just for the sake of their sanity, when they get close to the ground and see normal society out there and relax a little bit, that’s what they have to do. with his players.
“Now he is in the camp and now they will have to react.
“It will cause chaos because obviously they have to choose a completely different team, they are 16 players and then the back room staff and the coaches are discarded.
“They will have to take most of those cricketers out of the county, now there is a round of county championship games and all those counties will have to replace those players and have them vetted.
“Players who are withdrawn will have to get to Cardiff and undergo tests to enter the bubble, so it will be absolute chaos in the towers of the ECB at this point.”
Hussain believes England will still be able to put out a “pretty good side” against Pakistan, suggesting that even James Anderson and Stuart Broad could be called up to fill in the gaps.
“It will be disturbing, but English cricket can handle it a little better because of the depth, especially their white ball squad,” he said.
“I think it was Sam Billings last year who said that the white ball team was one of the toughest teams in the world to get in. So because they have so much depth, I think they will handle it and the side they got out Thursday for the first ODI against Pakistan will be a pretty good team, to be honest.
“I have some names here: Stokes as captain, I think Jos Buttler and Ollie Pope are still wounded, Dawid Malan is away for personal reasons, but then you could go to James Vince, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Dan Lawrence, [Matt] Parkinson’s [Sam] Hain, [Saqib] Mahmood, [Will] Cats [Phil] Salt, [Ben] Cox, Craig Overton, even Anderson and Broad could get a call!
“There are a lot of talented young, or younger, white ball cricketers.”
Catch the first ODI between England and Pakistan, in Cardiff, live on Sky Sports Cricket starting at 12.30pm on Thursday.