Ben Stokes urges new England team-mates to seize unlikely opportunity against Pakistan after Covid chaos

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Ben Stokes will lead a very inexperienced England team (Getty Images)
Ben Stokes will lead a very inexperienced England team (Getty Images)

Stand-in skipper Ben Stokes has urged his new England team-mates to seize the “amazing opportunity” presented to them by the entire ODI squad and being forced into isolation by seven positive Covid-19 tests.

Stokes has been prematurely called back into action after a finger injury to lead an 18-man squad containing six players who have never played international cricket, three more who are uncapped in ODIs, and a further six players who fewer than five ODI caps.

Having isolated in their rooms until around 2.30pm awaiting the results of the PCR Covid-19 tests, the team were able to train together for the first time this afternoon.

Stokes said he had no idea what shape the XI would take, but they had “done everything we can planning for the Pakistan lineup” on team meetings via Zoom.

Stokes did confirm that he would be returning to the middle order from his temporary post at No3 on the recent tour of India, and tipped his Durham colleague Brydon Carse to fulfil “a similar role to Liam Plunkett in the England team for a number of years” – bashing away in the middle overs.

Stokes predicted that the side would be “very competitive” and urged them to enjoy the experience and take the opportunity to make the selectors’ lives difficult when the first-team return from isolation.

“It’s great, it’s an amazing opportunity for guys either on the fringes previously or called up for the first time,” he said.

“We’re going to look at it from a positive. These are guys we haven’t seen in an England shirt but that’s because of how strong we have been. I’m looking forward to leading out the next exciting cricketers coming through in England, who will no doubt be in an England shirt in the future, it just came quicker than we expected.

“Situations like these are so rare and such a fluster, I would say you have got a chance to represent your country so let’s do it with a smile on our face and just enjoy it as much as we can as a group.”

Stokes admitted to being surprised to be back with England so soon, describing the call from Chris Silverwood on Monday as the “last call I was expecting, late in the evening”.

“After the call happened my wife sent me a screen shot of an article saying England aren’t going to rush Ben Stokes back,” he laughed. “I tried to make light of the situation and said the same thing to Gilo [Ashley Giles’ as well, it’s one of these situations that’s an example of ‘if you don’t laugh you’ll cry’.

“But it was like when I came back for Durham a bit earlier [a fortnight ago], my job needed me to do something, so I had to stand up and do that. Same with this, this is earlier than planned for from a medical and fitness point of view but when a job comes and calls you, you need to stand up and make yourself available.”

Read More

Ben Stokes to captain entirely new England squad for Pakistan series after Covid outbreak in camp

England vs Pakistan: After Covid chaos the show must go on in Cardiff

Ashely Giles ‘very confident’ no England player breached Covid rules despite ODI squad chaos

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting