As many as seven members of the England men’s ODI team have tested positive for Covid-19 only two days before the limited-overs series against Pakistan was set to get underway. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in an official release on June 6 (Tuesday) notified about the development, further informing that three of the seven are players, while the remaining are management and support staff members.
As per the current health protocols in place, the ECB confirmed that “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 remaining members of the party have been deemed close contacts and will also isolate,” the release further stated.
Despite the mishap, the board has confirmed that the series against Pakistan will be held according to the schedule. Ben Stokes, who was not named in the squad announced earlier this week, is set to return to the squad and lead, which could mean that Eoin Morgan, the regular skipper, might be one of the three players to have tested positive, even though the player identities have not yet been revealed.
As a matter of precaution, the incoming squad and support team members will follow PCR tests to ensure safe entry to the camp. CricTracker understands that ECB are yet to name a fresh squad, which is to set out in the due course of time. England and Pakistan play three ODIs followed by as many T20Is in a series that will go on until July 20.
We have worked swiftly to identify a new squad: ECB CEO
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,” Tom Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, commented.
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 added.