Following a COVID-19 outbreak in the English camp, the ECB have named a revised 18-man squad, that includes as many as nine uncapped players. Star English all-rounder Ben Stokes, who will return to international cricket after his injury, would be captaining the side in the absence of Eoin Morgan.
Just two days ahead of the ODI series between England and Pakistan, calamity struck as COVID-19 surfaced in the English dressing room with as many as seven people testing positive, including three players. It forced the first-choice players into isolation, and as a result, the ECB have announced a revised squad. It is highly inexperienced and boasts a plethora of fringe players. However, one thing that stands out is the continued exclusion of English opener Alex Hales, who didn’t find a place even in a weakened English unit, and further indicates the grim chances of his return to the international fold, if ever.
Gloucestershire’s left-arm seamer David Payne, Middlesex wicketkeeper-batter John Simpson, Sussex batsman Philip Salt, Middlesex bowler Tom Helm, Durham pacer Brydon Carse, and Surrey batsman Will Jacks are few of the lesser-known players included in the squad. The likes of Carse, Helm, Jacks, Payne, Salt and Simpson haven’t represented England in any format yet. The trio of Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence and Craig Overton, who were part of the Test side against New Zealand, have also been named in the squad.
Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men’s cricket, has stated that it’s a great chance for the youngsters to shine at the top level.
“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,” stated Ashley Giles, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
The former England left-arm orthodox spinner, ahead of the three-match ODI series against Pakistan, further stated that it’s an exciting bunch who have been picked.
“It’s an exciting group of players, with some young talent and some players who have impressed at a 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.”
He signed off by saying that he expects Ben Stokes to thrive as a captain for the Three Lions.
“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,” Giles added.
England ODI squad: Ben Stokes (capt), Jake Ball, Danny Briggs, Brydon Carse, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Lewis Gregory, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Dan Lawrence, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Matt Parkinson, David Payne, Phil Salt, John Simpson, James Vince.