Best Cricket Team – England captain Eoin Morgan (right) and his teammates had to be separated after contracting Covid-19 following the one-day series against Sri Lanka. Photo: Rui Vieira/AP
Ashley Giles said England were working on a “knife edge” this summer, trying to balance biosecurity with the mental wellbeing of players, after the Covid-19 outbreak forced the entire international one-day squad into isolation. clear. The dangers currently facing professional sports.
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In a dramatic turn of events on Tuesday morning, England announced that three players and four members of the coaching staff from their recent 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka had tested positive for the virus at the team hotel in Bristol last night. A round of PCR tests was performed after two positive side results earlier that day.
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As a result, Ben Stokes, who returned from thumb surgery in April to play for Durham, will now captain the new England team for the three-match ODI series against Pakistan, which starts at night. For Thursday’s game in Cardiff, his 18-man squad has been eliminated from the current round of county competition and includes nine players who did not play.
Stowes will be joined by Chris Silverwood, the head coach, who was jettisoned on a family holiday to Norfolk in mid-summer after missing six ODIs, and has also appointed a new coaching staff. Positive cases include both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, with contact tracing nearly impossible given the 40-day overlap.
Last year, England played their home international in two bio-secure bubbles at the Agias Bowl and Old Trafford, staying in two on-site hotels, and there were no positive results. They are playing all over the country this summer, even traveling on public transportation between games, though they are mostly confined to team hotels outside of game days and practices.
Gilles, the manager of the men’s team, defended the relaxed environment when hotels are shared with the public on the grounds that it is still more limited than society; 14 months of performing in bio-safe balloons took its toll on the players’ well-being and the balance needed to be redressed.
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“I don’t believe we were gambling at all,” said Gilles, who said no individual broke protocol. “We are fully aware of the risks. That’s the knife edge we work on all the time. As much as we protect our people and keep them healthy like everything else, we protect the revenue of the whole game. It’s really hard. It’s a balance to achieve.”
Unlike England’s decision to pull out of the one-day series in South Africa in December after positive cases in the home camp, Pakistan agreed to continue. But the incident has caused a scare in the five-Test series against India, which begins on August 4. Each Test match is worth around £20m in domestic broadcast money and even though England’s players finished their matches last summer, the game is still £100m short of revenue.
Giles said the series is not in jeopardy. India’s players are on holiday in England after their World Test final defeat by New Zealand last month and will not return to their training grounds until July 14. With England asking for county players for the Pakistan ODIs, we now hope they don’t bring more positive developments from abroad.
Had England’s expansion been limited to one or two men, Gilles felt that complete isolation of the team could have been avoided by sticking to a strict contract. The 48-year-old said the entire set-up had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and the management would not “sleep easy” until the 18 new players had passed tests and isolation when they arrived in Cardiff.
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While players were allowed to leave the hotel for the start of the recent T20 against Sri Lanka, protocols were tightened during one-day matches as cases began to rise in the country. England’s players were hoping for a relatively normal second half of the summer, although that may have faded given the financial importance of the series in India.
Ben Stokes (Durham, captain), Jack Ball (Nottinghamshire), Danny Briggs (Warwickshire), Braden Carrs (Durham), Zach Crowley (Kent), Ben Dickett (Nottinghamshire), Lewis Gregory (Somerset), Tom Helm (Middlesex) Vale Jacks (Surrey), Dean Lawrence (Essex), Saqib Mahmoud (Lancashire), David Malan (Yorkshire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Matt Parkinson (Lancashire), David Payne (Gloucestershire), Phil Salt (Sussex), John Simpson ( Middlesex), James Vance (Hampshire).
Key to this will be how positive cases are handled after July 19, when the last restrictions are lifted in England. Health Secretary Syed Javid announced on Tuesday that from August 16, people who have been vaccinated twice will not self-isolate in case of close contact. The date being the final day of India’s second Test at Lord’s, the England and Wales Cricket Board will be hoping that the best matches exemption comes soon as they hope to double up all players.
In the short term, the new crop of players has a chance to impress Silverwood, who is now the sole coach. John Simpson, the 32-year-old Middlesex keeper, is one character who has had a stunning year at a time when he believed his international prospects were over, although Alex Hales was once again overlooked. and
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The Nottinghamshire international has not featured since failing a recreational drugs test ahead of the 2019 World Cup. “What we never questioned was Alex’s ability,” Giles said. “The reason for his absence is different. Those are not matters we need to get into now. That’s all I’ll say about that.”
Durham fast bowler Braiden Carrs, 25, was born in South Africa but holds a British passport and is eligible in 2019. He was spotted by England chief scout James Taylor at Edgbaston on Monday and has previously met with the Lions.
Zach Crowley has played in Tests for the last 12 months but is fighting for his place after a 26 against Pakistan last summer, which was followed by a low score. In strong form against the white ball, he averages 40 at a strike rate of 155 in the T20 Blast this year.
Will Jacks, a 22-year-old right-hander from Surrey, has the ability to produce explosive innings against the white ball, mainly in Twenty20s, but also with a List A century (121 off 100 balls against Gloucester in 2018). More than a manual brake release option.
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Eight times against Lewis Gregory in T20 cricket, the Somerset all-rounder admits he is yet to prove himself at international level. Offers batting power at the death and can fix slack in the right-arm medium-pace field.
Tom Helm, the 6ft 4in Middlesex fast bowler, has long been on England’s radar for his ability to swing the ball and then swing the ball, but until now his career has been delayed by a stress fracture in his back. After 15 appearances for the Lions, at the age of 27 he gets his chance.
Dean Lawrence has not been surprisingly consistent in 50-over cricket, given his batting range, but it has been a testament to his ability in his seven Test matches so far. Like Crowley, the call-up prevented him from playing first-class cricket before the series in India.
The loss of David Payne to Sam Curran and David Willey leaves the 30-year-old to provide a left-arm seam option in the team. He hasn’t been on England’s radar since his under-19s but took 110 for 24 in List A for Gloucestershire as well as 125 for 22 in T20s.
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Phil Saltbourne Born in Wales but raised in Barbados, the Sussex player has featured in England’s T20 teams without making his debut. During this time Mala rose to prominence in the international T20 circuit. He broke his leg early in the season but came back in strong form.
32-year-old John Simpson has long been competing with Surrey’s Ben Fuchs for the crown of best keeper in domestic cricket. He will likely be a backup to a top batsman like Ben Dickett, but the 12-year call-up in his career is no less impressive.
The squad for the T20i series, which starts at Trent Bridge on July 16, will be named in due course, with the current split first-choice players technically clean. Fast bowlers may not be picked due to fear of injury after 10 days of inactivity and less time.
Another factor would be the effect of more time in isolation. For example, Moeen Ali is going through his fifth such match this year after contracting Covid-19 before the tour of Sri Lanka and then staying in a hotel while traveling to and from India during the subcontinental winter. The rooms have different times.
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The players are therefore worried about the prospect of their families not being able to join them in Australia during the Ashes tour, as the multi-format players will need at least four months on the road for the tours of Bangladesh, Pakistan and England. was thrown the T20 World Cup which is the first.
England Ben Stokes (Durham, captain), Jack Ball (Notts), Danny Briggs (Warwick), Braden Carrs (Durham), Zach Crowley (Kent), Ben Duckett