Cricket

Entire England cricket team in isolation after Covid positives

England will pick an entirely new squad to face Pakistan in their one-day and T20 series after three players and four members of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

The ECB have confirmed all players and staff currently in the squad are considered close contacts and will go into a period of isolation.

But the series with Pakistan will go ahead with Ben Stokes returning from injury to captain a squad that will be selected this afternoon.

Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive officer, 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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