England all-rounder Ben Stokes has taken an indefinite break from cricket and will miss the upcoming five-match Test series against India, which will start on August 4. The England Cricket Board (ECB) announced the same on Friday, July 30. The board informed that Stokes wants to focus on mental well-being. At the same time, his index finger will also get a chance to heal.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has confirmed that Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar, and Avesh Khan have been ruled out of the upcoming five-match Test series against England. Opener Prithvi Shaw and middle-order batsman Suryakumar Yadav have been named as replacements. Jayant Yadav’s name, which was also doing the rounds, does not feature in the updated squad. BCCI also informed that Rishabh Pant has joined the Indian squad after recovering from Covid-19. Further, Abhimanyu Easwaran has been added to the squad from the standby players' list.
England have announced a 17-member squad for the first two Tests of the five-match series against India. Fast bowler Jofra Archer remains unavailable while Ben Stokes and Ollie Robinson both make a return. Robinson comes back after he was fined and handed an eight-match ban, five of which are suspended for two years, for offensive historical tweets. His posts went viral on his Test debut against New Zealand.
In what was inevitable, COVID-19 has hit the Indian camp in England. After it was revealed that wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant is COVID-positive, support staff Dayananda Garani has also returned a positive test. The other wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha has also been forced into isolation after being identified as as a close contact. As for Pant, he will have to get a negative test on Sunday to quit the quarantine and join the team. Bowling coach Bharat Arun is also isolating after he too was found to be a close contact.
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has thrown his weight behind the current team despite their 0-3 whitewash in England. Pakistan went into the ODI series as favourites after England had to replace their entire squad days before the series after seven members of the original contingent tested COVID-19 positive. Ben Stokes was named captain for the series, which saw five England debutants in the first one-dayer.
Stand-in England captain Ben Stokes has admitted that he has been surprised at how well a team chosen at the last moment for the ODI series against Pakistan has performed in the first two matches. England were forced to select a whole new team for the one-day series after seven members of the original contingent tested positive for COVID-19.
England team director Ashley Giles has assured that none of the players who were chosen for the limited-overs series against Pakistan broke any COVID-19 related protocols. Giles’ statement came after three England cricketers and four members of the backroom staff tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the entire England contingent originally selected for the Pakistan series has been sent into isolation. A completely fresh squad, to be led by all-rounder Ben Stokes, was announced on Tuesday itself.
England’s stand-in head coach Graham Thorpe has opined that featuring in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has helped Sam Curran improve his game. Curran is one of the key members of the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL. He has won games for the team with both bat and ball.
England’s white-ball skipper Eoin Morgan has admitted that veteran batsman Joe Root is very much in contention for a place in England’s squad for the T20 World Cup to be held later in the year. Root scored an unbeaten 79 not out off 87 balls as England defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Root was, however, not part of the T20I outfit that thrashed Sri Lanka 3-0 recently. Morgan though admitted that Root cannot be ruled out of the T20 World Cup.