England‘s plans for the ODI series against Pakistan have been thrown into chaos after three players and four staff members tested positive for COVID-19. England have named an entire new squad for the series which starts on Thursday. Ben Stokes will be the stand-in captain, with nine uncapped players picked in a squad of 18.
The ECB released a statement on Tuesday morning saying PCR tests that were administered on Monday have returned seven positive results.
All seven will have to self-isolate until July 4, with the rest of the squad deemed to be close contacts.
The series against Pakistan will go ahead as planned, with the first match in Cardiff on Thursday.
Lord’s will host the second match of the series on Saturday before the finale at Edgbaston on Tuesday.
A host of players have been removed from the ongoing round of County Championship matches to be included in the squad for the series.
On the squad, England’s managing director of cricket Ashley Giles said: “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.
“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.”
Following the ODI series, England will continue their preparations for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup later this year with three T20’s against the same opposition.
It appears unlikely any of the players who are currently isolating will be available for those matches.
The T20s start on July 16 at Trent Bridge, with Headingley (July 18) and Old Trafford (July 20) to stage the other two.
Stokes will make his first appearance for England since March 28.
The all-rounder has played for Durham in recent weeks after recovering from the finger injury he sustained playing in the IPL.
Chris Silverwood will return as head coach for the matches against Pakistan after initially taking a rest ahead of the five Tests against India that start in August.
England came close to a double whitweash in their recent limited overs series against Sri Lanka.
Eoin Morgan’s side won the T20 leg 3-0 and were 2-0 up in the ODIs, and in a great position to win again, before rain washed out the final match at Bristol on Sunday.