England vs Pakistan: Ben Stokes to lead new England team after seven members of ODI squad test positive for COVID-19

England cricket board are now forced to select a new squad with a number of players and support staff found positive for Covid-19.

FirstSportz News

England will be forced to select a completely new squad for the ODI series against Pakistan due to an outbreak of the coronavirus in their one-day international squad. Tests on Monday, a day after the team’s last ODI against Sri Lanka in Bristol, revealed seven infections among three players and four staff. None were named.

England are scheduled to play three ODIs and three T20Is against Pakistan, starting with the first ODI on July 8 at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. The Eoin Morgan-led side just completed series wins against touring Sri Lanka 3-0 in T20Is and 2-0 in ODIs. The final 50-over game at County Ground, Bristol was however called off due to rain.

The Pakistan series is still expected to go ahead. And Ben Stokes, who is returning from a lengthy injury lay-off, will now lead the revised squad that will be announced shortly.

England forced to select Ben Stokes-led new team for Pakistan series after coronavirus outbreak in 1st team

The squad has gone into isolation dating from Sunday, the England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement. The six-match limited-overs series against Pakistan, starting on Wednesday with the first ODI in Cardiff, will be still going ahead. England planned to name a new squad on Tuesday to be captained by Ben Stokes.

“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 chief executive 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.”

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