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3 England cricketers, 4 staff members test positive for Covid ahead of Pakistan series


LONDON, JUL 6: Three cricketers and four staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Tuesday.

“In collaboration with Public Health England, Public Health Wales and Bristol Local Health Authority, those impacted will now observe a period of self-isolation from July 4 following the UK government’s protocol on quarantine,” the statement said.

The remaining members of the party have been deemed close contacts and will also isolate, the ECB statement said.

The first ODI will be played in Cardiff on July 8 (Thursday). The remaining ODIs will be played at Lord’s on July 10 and Edgbaston on July 13. The T20Is will take place on July 16 in Nottingham. July 18 in Leeds and July 20 in Manchester.

“The ECB have confirmed the Royal London ODIs and the Vitality IT20s against Pakistan will go ahead. Ben Stokes will return to England duties and captain the squad,” the statement said.

Commenting on the development, ECB chief Tom Harrison said that board was aware that the emergence of the Delta variant, along with the 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 well-being of our players and management staff who have spent much of the last 14 months living in very restricted conditions,” he said.

“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,” he said.

England announces new squad

Hours later, the ECB announced a new squad for the three ODIs against Pakistan.

“Ben Stokes will return to the squad to captain the side and Chris Silverwood, who had been due to take some time away during the white-ball series, is back as head coach,” the cricket board said, adding that there were nine uncapped players in the squad.

“It’s a great opportunity to play on the biggest stage, and for most of the players selected it’s not necessarily something they would have been expecting 24 hours ago,” said ECB Managing Director Ashley 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,” he said.

Giles said that the cricket board was in “unprecedented territory” in terms of replacing an entire squad and management team. “I’d like to also put on record the thanks of the ECB to the Pakistan Cricket Board for their support and understanding during this time,” Giles said.

England’s ODI squad: 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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