ENG vs PAK: Three England players test COVID-19 positive
In a major blow, three players and four support staff members of the England ODI contingent have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the opening fixture against Pakistan. The ECB confirmed that the series against Pakistan will go ahead as planned. As per the update, all-rounder Ben Stokes is set to captain a revised squad in the upcoming three-match series.
The players will undergo a period of isolation
The ECB has stated that the seven positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed following the tests done on Monday in Bristol. They will now undergo a period of isolation as per UK Government's protocol on quarantine.
A look at the official statement
"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 CEO Tom Harrison said. "We made a strategic choice to try to adapt protocols, in order to support the overall well-being of our players and management staff."
Stokes set to make a return
As per the ECB, the limited-overs series between England and Pakistan will go ahead without any change. Besides, Stokes will return to international duty and captain the squad. The star all-rounder has been out of action due to a finger injury that he suffered at the Indian Premier League, earlier this year. Notably, the revised England squad will be named soon.
Here are the recent developments
Last month, the match referee who was officiating in the three-match T20I series between England and Sri Lanka, Phil Whitticase, had tested positive for COVID-19. Besides Whitticase, several other officials were asked to self-isolate. Subsequently, Sri Lanka cricketers Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Niroshan Dickwella were suspended for breaching the bio-bubble in the UK. However, the limited-overs leg remained unscathed by the same.
England vs Pakistan: Cardiff to host the first ODI
England are set to face Pakistan in three ODIs, starting July 8. Thereafter, the two teams will clash in the three-match T20I series. Pakistan have been been in managed isolation in Derby after arriving on June 25. The first ODI is due to take place in Cardiff on Thursday, while Lord's and Edgbaston will host the next two matches.