England cricket team suffer Covid outbreak with SEVEN members of squad – including three players

BEN STOKES will captain a new England one-day team against Pakistan after the original squad was decimated by a Covid outbreak.

Three players and four backroom staff tested positive for Covid in Bristol on Monday – the day after the washed-out 50-over match against Sri Lanka – and the rest were deemed close contacts.

Ben Stokes will captain England in the one-day series against Pakistan after the original team were forced into isolationCredit: Getty

It means all of Eoin Morgan’s players and the team management have been forced to self-isolate.

Stokes, who has not played for England since breaking his left index finger in the IPL in April, will be withdrawn from Durham’s county championship match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

England were due to announce their new squad on Tuesday with other players having to be withdrawn from their county matches.

Tom Harrison, CEO of the ECB, 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 as captain.

“We also recognise the impact this news will have on our first-class counties and their playing squads and thank them, along with our partners Sky and Royal London, for their ongoing support in dealing with this pandemic.’’

An England spokesman added: “Following PCR tests administered on Monday in Bristol, the ECB can confirm seven members – three players and four management team members – of the England men’s ODI party have tested positive for Covid-19.

“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.

“The remaining members of the party have been deemed close contacts and will also isolate.

“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 a new squad.

“Incoming squad and support team members will follow PCR tests and bridging protocols to ensure safe entry to camp.”

Seven players in the camp, including three players, returned positive tests on Monday

Seven players in the camp, including three players, returned positive tests on MondayCredit: AFP

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