Just two days ahead of the first ODI against Pakistan, three England players and four support staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.
The remaining members of the squad have all been deemed close contacts and will isolate. The Pakistan series is still expected to go ahead, an official release said, with Ben Stokes now set to captain a revised squad that will be announced shortly. It has also been confirmed that Chris Silverwood will return to coach the team.
The ECB stated that the seven positive cases were confirmed following the PCR tests done on Monday in Bristol. They will now undergo a period of isolation as per UK Government’s protocol on quarantine.
“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,” ECB CEO Tom Harrison said. “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.”
Source – Cricbuzz