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Coronavirus

England forced to name new cricket squad against Pakistan after seven COVID-19 cases

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England have had to select an entirely new squad for their limited-overs series against Pakistan after three players and four staff members tested positive for COVID-19, the country’s cricket board (ECB) said on Tuesday.

Two days before the series gets underway with the first of the three one-dayers in Cardiff, Ben Stokes was named captain of the squad which will be announced later on Tuesday.

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Seven members of the England contingent tested positive in Bristol on Monday, one day after the final match of a one-day series against Sri Lanka.

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“...those impacted will now observe a period of self-isolation from July 4 following the UK Government’s protocol on quarantine,” the ECB said in a statement.

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

England are due to face Pakistan in three ODIs and three Twenty20 matches.

“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,” ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said.

“We also recognize the impact this news will have on our First Class counties and their men’s playing squads and thank them...for their ongoing support in dealing with this pandemic.”

All-rounder Stokes has been out of action since injuring his finger at the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year.

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

The ECB said it was hoping at least some of the isolating players would be available to play the Twenty20 matches against Pakistan scheduled on July 16, 18 and 20.

Read more: Cricket-T20 World Cup to be moved to the UAE, official confirms