England include nine uncapped players in revised squad for Pakistan ODIs after coronavirus outbreak in initial group
Ben Stokes returns to captain a revised England squad featuring nine uncapped players for the ODI series against Pakistan; initial team forced to isolate due to three players and four backroom staff testing positive for Covid-19; first ODI in Cardiff on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Cricket
Last Updated: 06/07/21 8:27pm
England have named nine uncapped players in their revised squad for the ODI series against Pakistan following a coronavirus outbreak among the initial group.
Ben Stokes returns to captain the side after recovering from a finger injury, Dawid Malan, who left the squad for personal reasons, also comes back into the fold to play alongside a host of new faces but there is no place for Alex Hales.
Test batsmen Zak Crawley and Dan Lawrence join Durham seamer Brydon Carse, Tom Helm of Middlesex, Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory, Surrey's Will Jacks, Gloucestershire left-armer David Payne, Sussex opening batsman Phil Salt and Middlesex wicketkeeper John Simpson as those in the 18-strong group yet to feature for England in 50-over cricket.
"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," managing director of England men's cricket, Ashley Giles, said.
"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."
England were forced to select a new team for the after seven positive Covid-19 tests pushed the entire squad into isolation.
Three England players and four backroom staff have tested positive for Covid-19, with the rest of the squad deemed close contacts.
The first ODI is on Thursday in Cardiff, live on Sky Sports Cricket, and will still go ahead.
Stokes will captain England after several weeks out with a fractured finger, despite Eoin Morgan initially saying it would be too soon for the all-rounder to be considered.
Chris Silverwood was not in charge of the ODI series against Sri Lanka as he was taking a break and will be available to return as head coach.
"We have been mindful that the emergence of the Delta variant, along with our move away from the stringent enforcement of biosecure environments, could increase the chances of an outbreak," said Tom Harrison, chief executive at the ECB.
"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.''
Revised England squad in full: Ben Stokes (Durham, captain), Jake Ball (Nottinghamshire), Danny Briggs (Warwickshire), Brydon Carse (Durham), Zak Crawley (Kent), Ben Duckett (Nottinghamshire), Lewis Gregory (Somerset), Tom Helm (Middlesex), Will Jacks (Surrey), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Dawid Malan (Yorkshire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Matt Parkinson (Lancashire), David Payne (Gloucestershire), Phil Salt (Sussex), John Simpson (Middlesex), James Vince (Hampshire).
Hussain: Chaos at the ECB
Sky Sports cricket expert and former England captain Nasser Hussain praised the ECB for the way they have handled the Covid bubble but says the latest outbreak will cause "absolute chaos".
"It shows how well England and the ECB have done over the last 15 months during Covid times to keep it out of the bubble, whether it was the completely tight bubble, something that has been eased slightly and I think they had to ease that bubble slightly," he told Sky Sports News.
"Cricketers have been going around the world in bubbles and just for the sake of their mental health, when they turn up to the ground and see normal society out there and being relaxed slightly then that's what they have to do with their players.
"It's now got in the camp and now they will have to react.
"It will cause chaos because obviously they have to pick a completely different squad, that's 16 players and then backroom staff and coaches ruled out.
"They will have to pull the bulk of those players out of county cricket, there is a round of County Championship games going on now and all those counties will have to replace those players and get them tested.
"The players who are pulled out will have to get to Cardiff and get tested to enter the bubble so it will be absolute chaos at ECB towers right now."
Watch the first ODI between England and Pakistan, in Cardiff, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 12.30pm on Thursday.