England Cricket Board’s Director of Cricket and former cricketer Ashley Giles has justified the relaxation given to players which might have eventually led to a breakout of Covid-19. As many as seven members of team have been found positive of the deadly virus. In its aftermath, the whole team has been asked to self isolate including those who came in close contact. It all started when a couple of management staff turned positive. When the whole squad was tested following this discovery, three players and two support staff had contracted the virus.
There could be a number of reasons. Firstly, It is been said that players were allowed to play golf; exercise in open areas. They were also staying in hotels where they would share space with other guests. Although the squad wasn’t allowed to go outside as cases started rising in the country, ECB considered these relaxations necessary for the mental health of the players; most of them had spent too much time quarantining in hotel rooms in last 12 months.
“This year we tried to operate in what we called ‘safe environments," Giles said.
“Just from the nature of what we were doing this year, playing all around the country, travelling a lot, hotels weren’t sole use. We were sharing certain spaces within the hotel but not key areas like eating areas. And given this [delta] variant, which is clearly more infectious, the risk of us catching infection in the group was obviously going to go up," Giles told Cricbuzz in an exclusive chat.
“I don’t believe we’ve gambled at all. We are fully aware of the risks - no one is more than us. That is knife edge we are working on all the time. As well as looking after our people and keeping them sane as much as anything, we’re protecting the revenues of the whole game. And it’s a really difficult balance to strike."
Earlier three England cricketers and four from the management staff have tested positive of Covid-19 putting the ODI series against Pakistan in jeopardy. All of them belonged to the squad which was set to take on Pakistan in the first ODI in 48 hours’ time. This means England Cricket Board will now have to name a new side; they have confirmed Ben Stokes will lead.