With the ODI series against Pakistan around the corner, England have been hit hard as 7 people in the team tested COVID-19 positive. Among the seven are three players and four members of the support staff.
The positive cases come two days before the scheduled England vs Pakistan series and have raised question over hosting of the series. However, ECB has confirmed matches will go as per schedule from July 8 in Cardiff as the board will announce a fresh squad later in the day.
“Following PCR 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,” said ECB in an official release.
“Those impacted will now observe a period of self-isolation from July 4 following the UK Government’s protocol on quarantine
The remaining members of the party have been deemed close contacts and will also isolate,” the release further mentioned.
The ECB also confirmed all-rounder Ben Stokes as the captain of the squad, which is supposed to be announced later in the day.
“Ben Stokes will return to England duties and captain the squad – which will be named in the next few hours. Incoming squad and support team members will follow PCR tests and bridging protocols to ensure safe entry to camp,” said ECB.
Tom Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, commented:
‘‘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. 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. We also recognise the impact this news will have on our First Class Counties and their Men’s playing squads and thank them, along with our partners Sky and Royal London, for their ongoing support in dealing with this pandemic.’’