In what comes as a piece of unexpected news for the inaugural season of The Hundred tournament, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is likely to prevent some first-choice England players from participating in the tournament. ECB is looking at the prospects to place the England players, who would be playing in the Test series against India, to put them in bio-bubble ahead of the series.
This would mean, the players wouldn’t be able to play in The Hundred tournament, which is set to start on July 21. England versus India Test is set to commence on August 4.
The ECB is considering the decision given the pandemic situation in the country. According to ECB, they would have to face a huge loss if a player contracts COVID and has to be dropped out of the Test series against India. The ECB can face a loss of a whopping $137 million. The board would also try to not repeat the situation that happened with the Pakistan series, as they had to revamp the whole squad after seven members of the England squad tested positive for COVID-19. England is planning to shield the players ahead of the series.
In the wake of another wave of the pandemic England is hit by after the relaxation in the restrictions, there has been a surge in COVID-19 positive cases among the players and staff. Just recently, a County Championship game between Derbyshire and Essex got abandoned after a player tested positive for the virus. A similar situation happened in other clubs, including Kent and Middlesex, which also reported COVID-19 positive cases from their teams.
If the ECB carries out its decision, it will act as another roadblock for the 100-ball tournament, which is already in jeopardy given that numerous first-rate players have pulled out from the tournament.
Ben Stokes unhappy with ECB’s decision, says would be devastating not to play in The Hundred
England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who is among the high-profile players participating in The Hundred, expressed his discontentment on the news.
“It would be very frustrating to not be able to participate in The Hundred. It’s a massive event for England and we want to be part of it. We know how big role players play in making a franchise competition big, and if the Test players were unable to play in it because of Covid,” said Ben Stokes
Stokes is also part of the Joe Root-led squad that will play the five-match Test series against India. He is currently leading the England squad in their ongoing ODI series against Pakistan.
The second-string England team has been phenomenal in playing against the robust Pakistan team, as they have sealed the three-match ODI series by a 2-0 lead. The dominance by the hosts was really surprising, something that Stokes himself admitted.
“When I got sent through the squad, even though it was a last-minute thing, I thought it was strong and talented, and I knew we’d be able to compete against Pakistan. But it would be a lie to say I wasn’t surprised how easily we have done it” Stokes said.