England Records Covid-19 Cases Before Pakistan Series
Three England players and four support staff members tested positive for COVID-19 just two days before the first ODI against Pakistan. The squad’s remaining members have all been designated as close contacts and will be isolated. According to an official statement, the Pakistan series will still go ahead, with Ben Stokes scheduled to command a revamped squad that will be named soon.
According to the ECB, the seven positive cases were verified by PCR tests conducted on Monday in Bristol. They will now be quarantined for a period of time, as per UK government practice.
“We have been mindful that the emergence of the Delta variant, along with our move away from the stringent enforcement of biosecure environments, could increase the chances of an outbreak,” ECB CEO Tom Harrison said. “We made a strategic choice to try to adapt protocols, 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 recognize 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 Pakistan series is scheduled to go on as planned. Ben Stokes, who is returning from a lengthy injury layoff, will now captain the updated squad, which will be confirmed soon, it will be followed by a five-match Test series against India, who recently won the inaugural ICC World Test Championship by defeating New Zealand in the final match.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan cricketers will immediately enter a bio-bubble after returning from England n preparation for their limited-overs series against India.
“The Sri Lankan team will reach Colombo today itself and enter another bubble after one round of RT PCR test. Even after completing the tour on Sunday, the team had an RT PCR test in Uthe K before boarding the flight,” a Sri Lanka Cricket official said.