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Three England cricketers test positive for COVID-19 ahead of Pakistan series

Pakistan and England will play the first ODI in Cardiff on July 8

LONDON: England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Tuesday said that seven members including three cricketers and four staff members of the ODI team have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Following PCR tests carried out on Monday in Bristol, three players and four management team members of the men’s ODI party tested positive, the ECB said.

“In collaboration with Public Health England, Public Health Wales and Bristol Local Health Authority, those impacted will now observe a period of self-isolation from July 4 following the UK government’s protocol on quarantine,” the statement said. The remaining members of the party have been deemed close contacts and will also isolate, the ECB statement said.

The development comes as Pakistan prepares for the national team’s England tour during which the tourists will play three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals. However, the ECB has confirmed the matches against Pakistan will go ahead as planned.

“The ECB have confirmed the Royal London ODIs and the Vitality IT20s against Pakistan will go ahead. Ben Stokes will return to England duties and captain the squad — which will be named in the next few hours,” the statement said.

Incoming squad and support team members will follow PCR tests and bridging protocols to ensure safe entry to camp, the statement said.

ECB chief Tom Harrison said that board was aware that the emergence of the Delta variant, along with the 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 well-being of our players and management staff who have spent much of the last 14 months living in very restricted conditions,” he said.

“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,” he added.

Pakistan and England will play the first ODI in Cardiff on July 8 (Thursday). The remaining ODIs will be played at Lord’s on July 10 and Edgbaston on July 13. The T20Is will take place on July 16 in Nottingham, July 18 in Leeds, and July 20 in Manchester.