• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

England forced to announce an entirely new ODI squad to face Pakistan after the first-choice squad was forced into isolation

Jul 6, 2021

UPDATE: This story was updated after England named their replacement squad to face Pakistan
England have named nine uncapped players in a new 18-man group to face Pakistan after their entire first-choice squad was forced into isolation following seven positive cases of COVID-19.
Allrounder Ben Stokes, who was not part of the initial squad as he was in the early stages of his return from a finger injury, has been recalled and named captain.
The new playing group features eight players who will be familiar to Australian audiences having played in the KFC BBL last summer; Jake Ball, Danny Briggs, Lewis Gregory, Will Jacks, Dan Lawrence, Dawid Malan, Phil Salt and James Vince.
England squad: 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
But there is again no room for Alex Hales, who has been out of favour for more than two years despite dominating at domestic level all over the world. Combining the 18 players picked today and the 16 in the original squad, it means 34 players have been picked ahead of him.
The announcement of an entirely new squad to face Pakistan, starting with the first ODI on Thursday, came after three players and four staff members tested positive on Monday. Those squad members have been told to isolate as part of public health orders and their teammates have been deemed close contacts, meaning they must also isolate.
Despite the news, the ECB has confirmed that the ODIs (on July 8, 10 and 13) and T20s (on July 16, 18 and 20) against Pakistan will still go ahead.
England’s original 16-man squad consisted of Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, George Garton, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.
Malan had been part of England’s original white-ball squad but had been given time away for personal reasons, meaning he’s able to return as he’s not had close contact with the positive cases.
Head coach Chris Silverwood, who had been granted leave for the series, has also returned. 
“It’s a great opportunity to play on the biggest stage, and for most of the players selected it’s not necessarily something they would have been expecting 24 hours ago,” said England’s managing director, Ashley Giles, as he announced the new squad.
“It’s an exciting group of players, with some young talent and some players who have impressed at domestic level over a long period of time.
“We’re in unprecedented territory, in terms of replacing an entire squad and management team, and I’m very proud of how everyone has come together in order to get it done – both those within the ECB and from the county game.
“Ben hasn’t captained our ODI side before so it’s a huge honour for him. We all wish him well and it’s a role I’m sure he’ll thrive in.
“I’d like to also put on record the thanks of the ECB to the PCB for their support and understanding during this time.”
Eleven of the 18 players picked have been removed from their respective County Championship matches, which had started on Sunday. Nottinghamshire left-hander Duckett was 66 not out at stumps on day two but has not been able to complete his innings.
England completed its home summer under tight restrictions last year, but those measures have been relaxed for this season.
“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 in a statement.
“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.”
The news comes as the UK’s daily COVID-19 case numbers pushed past 25,000 having been as low as 2000 a day earlier this year.
With 64 per cent of the adult population fully vaccinated, restrictions are continuing to ease across the country, which officials concede will lead to an increase in cases.
However, rates of hospitalisation and death remain low due to the high rate of vaccinations.
England squad: 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