Tuesday 6 July 2021 9:31 am

Skittled: England to pick new ODI cricket squad after host of Covid positives

England will be forced to name an entirely new 50-over side for their series with Pakistan after three players and four staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

The squad will be captained by Ben Stokes, who was intended to be rested, and will be named later today.

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The team were due to begin the series in Cardiff on Thursday.

The original squad are now all required to self-isolate having been deemed close contacts.

“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 chief executive officer Tom Harrison said.

“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,” he continued.

England players had previously been kept in high restrictive bubbles whilst playing for their country, but concerns around both mental and physical health meant some of those restrictions were recently relaxed.

The games are still expected to take place as scheduled, though the weather may put paid to those plans.

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