The England and Wales Cricket Board has named a new 18-man squad with nine uncapped players. Ben Stokes will captain the side
England’s Cricket team have been forced to select a new team for the Pakistan ODI series, following the whole squad being forced into isolation due to seven cases of COVID-19.
Three players, as well as four members of the management team had tested positive after taking PCR coronavirus tests.
In a statement, the England and Wales Cricket Board said: “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 4 July following the UK government’s protocol on quarantine.
“The remaining members of the party have been deemed close contacts and will also isolate.
This comes after there will reportedly be no “legal compulsion” to wear face masks once the coronavirus restrictions in England are lifted, the environment secretary has said, as he said that he will be ditching his face mask when the rules are scrapped.
“The ECB have confirmed the Royal London ODIs and the Vitality IT20s against Pakistan will go ahead. Ben Stokes will return to England duties and captain the squad – which will be named in the next few hours.”
The period of self-isolation will be spanning all three ODIs against Pakistan, which start this Thursday in Cardiff,
Thursday’s match, that takes place at at Sophia Gardens, will be followed by games at Lords on the 10th of July and Edgbaston a further three days later.
England will then be playing three T20 fixtures against Pakistan on the 16th, 18th and 20th of July.
The ECB had named the its squad for the Pakistan series as the 16 that had recently played against Sri Lanka.
This squad included the likes of captain Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.
England had comfortably won the ODI series 2-0, following the final match in Bristol had been abandoned as a result of bad weather.
Ben Stokes had missed the Sri Lanka series after he had suffered a fractured index finger while he was fielding in the Indian Premier League back in April.
He returned back to action again last month for Durham but Morgan said that he would not be rushed back to his international duty and was set to miss the series opposite Pakistan.
This comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid will make an announcement later on the self-isolation changes within England for those who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. He also said that daily cases of infections “could go as high as 100,000” when coronavirus restrictions were fully lifted.
Former spin bowler for England and managing director for men’s cricket at the ECB, Ashley Giles, said: “It’s a great opportunity to play on the biggest stage, and for most of the players selected it’s not necessarily something they would have been expecting 24 hours ago.
“It’s an exciting group of players, with some young talent and some players who have impressed at domestic level over a long period of time.
“We’re in unprecedented territory, in terms of replacing an entire squad and management team, and I’m very proud of how everyone has come together in order to get it done – both those within the ECB and from the county game.