Durham's Ben Stokes to Captain England after outbreak of covid forces whole cricket squad to self-isolate

England Vice-Captain Ben Stokes will act up as captain for the ODI

Ben Stokes has been drafted in to captain England for the upcoming One Day International series against Pakistan.

The Durham all-rounder returns from injury to lead an entirely new squad after three players and four members of the backroom team tested positive for Covid-19.

The entire squad took PCR tests in Bristol on Monday following the third One Day International against Sri Lanka.

The remainder of the group were identified as close contacts, forcing all parties into a period of isolation in line with public health guidelines.

The England and Wales Cricket Board moved quickly to ensure the fixtures go ahead, pulling together a new squad lead by returning Ben Stokes.

Stokes, who has been pulled out of Durham's LV= Insurance County Championship match against Warwickshire, had been left out originally in a bid to manage his comeback from a finger operation.

Managing Director of England Men's 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.

England Men's ODI Squad 

  • 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)

Head coach Chris Silverwood, who had been planning to take the series off, is cutting short his scheduled break to retake command.

The current round of championship matches are highly likely to be disrupted on a mass scale as players are rounded up for unexpected international duty.

ECB chief executive officer Tom Harrison accepted the development was a natural consequence of a calculated decision to move away from the strictly enforced bubbles that were in evidence last summer.

While successful - there were no positive cases at all during a full programme of men's fixtures - they were also felt to place too great a burden on the mental health of those involved for long periods.

Harrison added: "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.

"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."

The new players and staff who are drafted in will need to submit negative PCR tests and complete "bridging protocols" before joining the squad in Cardiff.

That match will take place in front of a 50 per cent capacity crowd, with the second game at Lord's on Saturday representing cricket's first 100 per cent crowd since the pandemic began. The series then concludes at Edgbaston and, as it stands, no changes are anticipated to the venues or admittance numbers.