July 6 (SkyNews) – England have been forced to select a new team for the Pakistan ODI series after seven positive Covid-19 tests pushed the entire squad into isolation.
Three England players and four backroom staff have tested positive for Covid-19, with the rest of the squad deemed close contacts.
The first ODI is on Thursday and will still go ahead.
Ben Stokes will return to the England side as captain after several weeks out with a fractured finger, despite Eoin Morgan initially saying it would be too soon for the all-rounder to be considered.
The rest of the new team to face Pakistan will be named later on Tuesday.
”We have been prepared for this moment, and 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,” said Tom Harrison, chief executive at the ECB.
“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 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.”