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England Players, Staff Test Positive for Covid-19; ECB to Form New Squad With Ben Stokes as Captain

England Players, Staff Test Positive for Covid-19; ECB to Form New Squad With Ben Stokes as Captain

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

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.

Following this incident, England squad is now self-isolating. ECB is sure that the series against Pakistan will go ahead as planned, reports ESPN Cricinfo. Meanwhile Stokes hasn’t played a game since his return from IPL. He being fresh and isolated from the rest of the squad, makes him the automatic choice for the position of captain.

“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," an ECB statement said. “The remaining members of the party have been deemed close contacts and will also isolate."
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Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive, said: "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."

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