Virus outbreak forces England to select new cricket team

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LONDON (AP) – England were forced to select a brand new squad for the one-day international series against Pakistan on Tuesday after a coronavirus outbreak infected three players and four staff.

The initially selected team have isolated themselves following the results of tests carried out on Monday, a day after the team’s last ODI against Sri Lanka in Bristol. The names of those who tested positive were not disclosed. The rest of the group has been identified as close contacts.

The three ODIs and the three Twenty20s against Pakistan, starting Thursday with the first ODI in Cardiff, were still continuing and at the same venues.

England’s revised and hastily assembled ODI squad includes nine new caps and will be led for the first time by Ben Stokes and coached by Chris Silverwood, who was due to take time off during the white ball streak but was pushed back into the action .

The original team will be back in time to play the T20 series, which begins July 16.

“We are in unprecedented territory in terms of replacing an entire squad and a management squad,” said Ashley Giles, England men’s cricket manager, “and I’m proud of how everyone world has come together to do it. “

Most of those who have tested positive have no symptoms, the England and Wales Cricket Board said, but some are not feeling well.

All players on the original squad received at least one vaccine, but not everyone was fully immunized.

“We have been aware that the emergence of the delta variant, as well as our move away from strict enforcement of bio-secure environments, could increase the chances of an outbreak,” said ECB Managing Director Tom Harrison .

“We made a strategic choice to try to adapt the protocols, in order to promote the general well-being of our players and our management staff who have spent much of the last 14 months living in very restricted conditions . “

The new 18-man team and recruited staff will need to submit negative tests and complete ‘transition protocols’ before joining the team in Cardiff.

This match will be played in front of a 50% crowd, with the second game at Lord’s on Saturday representing cricket’s first 100% crowd since the start of the pandemic. The series then ends at Edgbaston.

Stokes was withdrawn from the English County Durham Championship game against Warwickshire. He was originally left out by England in an attempt to manage his return from finger surgery.

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England squad revised: Ben Stokes (captain), Jake Ball, Danny Briggs, Brydon Carse, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Lewis Gregory, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Dan Lawrence, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Matt Parkinson , David Payne, Phil Salt, John Simpson, James Vince.

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