England's series with Pakistan thrown into chaos by Covid

BREAKING NEWS: England’s ENTIRE one-day cricket squad is sent into isolation after three players and four backroom staff test positive for Covid following a ‘breach of protocols’ – and an entirely new squad is named for Thursday’s match against Pakistan

  • Covid-19 swept through the England camp following series against Sri Lanka
  • Three players and four management staff have tested positive for the virus
  • Entire white ball team will have to isolate, plunging Pakistan series into chaos 
  • However, show will go on with Ben Stokes to captain an entirely new side 
  • England are set to play Pakistan in three one day and three T20 fixtures in July 

Ben Stokes was sensationally named England captain this morning after the whole of the white-ball team were forced to isolate because of a breach of Covid protocols.

A completely new England team will be forced to face Pakistan in the one-day series that starts in Cardiff on Thursday after the virus swept through the camp.

Three England players and four management staff have all tested positive for Covid after the final match against Sri Lanka at Bristol on Sunday, plunging the white-ball summer into disarray, But the show will go on. 

It is not clear yet how the protocols were breached but an investigation will be held by England and the implications for the rest of the summer will be huge.

The whole 16-man squad and their management team, led by stand-in coach Paul Collingwood, will be forced to isolate for 10 days and will be out of the three-match one-day series, including a second game that is due to be staged in front of a full house at Lord’s on Saturday.

England had named an unchanged 16-man squad for the three-match ODI series against Pakistan from the one that defeated Sri Lanka 2-0 over the last few days. 

Captained by Eoin Morgan, it included experienced figures such as Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid.

Other players in the squad were Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, George Garton, Liam Livingstone and David Willey.  

England’s white ball summer has been thrown into disarray after three players and four staff members tested positive for Covid-19

Ben Stokes will captain a completely changed England squad after the original set of players was forced into isolation by the positive Covid cases

Pakistan’s players are pictured in training ahead of their white ball tour of England this month

‘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.

‘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 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 – 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. 

‘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.’

The first-choice players will almost certainly miss the three T20 games that follow too but coach Chris Silverwood, who was on his first break since becoming England supremo, will also rush back to take charge again now. 

It means Stokes will have to come to England’s rescue ahead of schedule following his return from a broken finger, with captain Eoin Morgan among those ruled out. 

Only on Monday Morgan said Stokes would not be rushed and was almost certainly out of the white-ball international summer, with England protecting him ahead of the marquee Test series against India next month. Now all that has changed.

And a new 50-over team will be named on Tuesday, which could give opportunities to fringe players like Joe Clarke and Ben Duckett. 

But even though England need a whole new squad they are unlikely to go back to Alex Hales, whose exile is set to continue.

The incredible news broke today when England announced that the rules had been broken and Covid had found its way into the white-ball camp following their demolition of Sri Lanka in six low-key T20 and 50-over matches.

So the strict ECB bio-secure bubbles that were so rigidly observed last year and led to the salvation of the international programme have been breached this time in the most spectacular manner and the implications are huge for England cricket. 

But it is now back to the drawing board for the selectors as an entirely new squad is found for the Pakistan series. 

The first ODI match is scheduled for Cardiff this Thursday with the tour then moving on to Lord’s on Saturday and Edgbaston next Tuesday.

Three T20 internationals are then scheduled on July 16, 18 and 20 at Trent Bridge, Headingley and Old Trafford respectively. 

The T20 matches form part of England’s vital preparation for the World Cup, which is set to be staged in the United Arab Emirates in October and November.  

Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement: ‘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.’ 

England vs Pakistan fixtures 

ONE-DAY SERIES

Thursday – Match one (Cardiff)

Saturday – Match two (Lord’s)

July 13 – Match three (Edgbaston)

T20 SERIES

July 16 – Match one (Trent Bridge)

July 18 – Match two (Headingley)

July 20 – Match three (Old Trafford) 




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