Seven members of England team test positive for Covid-19, Stokes to lead against Pakistan

London : Seven members of the England cricket team including three players and four staff members have tested positive for Covid-19, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed on Tuesday.

‘Following RTPCR tests administered yesterday (Monday) in Bristol, The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) can confirm that seven members – three players and four management team members – of the England Men’s ODI party have tested positive for COVID-19,’ the ECB said in a statement.

The members who have tested positive will self-isolate as per UK Government’s quarantine protocol. The rest of the group in the bio-bubble too will have to self-isolate after being deemed as close contacts to those who tested positive.

The ECB has not revealed the covid positive players’ names. However, they have said that the upcoming the ODI and T20I series against Pakistan will go ahead as per schedule.

Star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who is currently playing for Durham against Warwickshire in the County Championship, has been called in to captain the new squad that will take the field against Pakistan.

“We have been mindful that the emergence of the Delta variant, along with our move away from the stringent enforcement of bio secure environments, could increase the chances of an outbreak,” said Tom Harrison, CEO of ECB.

“We made a strategic choice to try to adapt protocols, in order to support the overall wellbeing of our players and management staff who have spent much of the last 14 months living in very restricted conditions. Overnight we have worked swiftly to identify a new squad, and we are grateful to Ben Stokes who will return to England duties to Captain,’ he added.

In total, there were nine uncapped players in the new 18-member squad. Chris Silverwood, who had been due to take some time away during the white-ball series, is back as head coach.

Ashley Giles, the Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, said it was “a great opportunity” for uncapped players to play on “the biggest stage.”

“For most of the players selected it’s not necessarily something they would have been expecting 24 hours ago,” said Giles.

“It’s an exciting group of players, with some young talent and some players who have impressed at domestic level over a long period of time.

We’re in unprecedented territory, in terms of replacing an entire squad and management team, and I’m very proud of how everyone has come together in order to get it done – both those within the ECB and from the county game,’ he added.

England squad for ODI series against Pakistan: Ben Stokes (captain), Jake Ball, Danny Briggs, Brydon Carse, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Lewis Gregory, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Dan Lawrence, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Matt Parkinson, David Payne, Phil Salt, John Simpson, James Vince.

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