England have named nine uncapped players in an 18-man squad for their three-match ODI series against Pakistan after their entire first-choice squad was forced into isolation following seven positive cases of COVID-19. But, Alex Hales has been ignored once again.
The announcement comes after the news that three members of the initial playing group and four members of the management staff had tested positive for COVID-19, and consequently the entire squad initially selected was required to isolate.
Ben Stokes makes his return and will captain the side. The all-rounder, who has been returning to full fitness by playing for county side Durham following a finger injury suffered playing in the Indian Premier League, is now set to make his first England appearance since March. Chris Silverwood too makes his return from a scheduled break as head coach.
Brydon Carse, Zak Crawley, Lewis Gregory, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Dan Lawrence, David Payne, Phil Salt and John Simpson are the nine players who haven't yet represented England in the 50-over format.
Hales, who has not played for England since testing positive for recreational drugs in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup, has been left out once again despite being in outstanding form. Sam Hain, who has the highest List A average (59.78) among batsmen to have played more than 50 innings, was another notable omission.
So No Alex Hales … that must be the end of his international career then … find it very sad that someone who made a huge mistake but was punished can’t be given another go … we all mistakes every week … !!! Those that say they don’t are lying … #OnOn— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) July 6, 2021
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.
"Ben Stokes 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."
The three ODI will be played at Cardiff (July 8), Lord's (July 10) and Edgbaston (July 13) respectively. The new players and staff drafted in will need to submit negative tests and complete bridging protocols before joining the squad in Cardiff. That match will take place in front of a 50% capacity crowd, with the second game at Lord's on Saturday representing cricket's first 100% crowd since the pandemic began.
Squad: Ben Stokes (captain), 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.