Mutant Covid virus strain set to force England cricketers into quarantine

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The ECB are investigating whether England cricket stars have to quarantine for Christmas amid a new strain of Covid-19.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said that two cases of a “more transmissible” variant linked to South Africa have been identified in the UK.

It could prove to be a problem for the likes of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow with Hancock saying anyone who has been in South Africa in the last fortnight must quarantine.

The England squad returned on December 12 having failed to complete the ODI series due to positive Covid results.

It remains to be seen if the squad and coaching staff will be forced to quarantine and ECB are waiting on government guidance.

Some stars, including Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes, are set to avoid quarantine having returned home before the ODIs were due to start on December 6.

Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, said following the postponement of the ODIs: “We have always maintained that the welfare of our players and management is paramount.

“We were concerned about the potential impact that recent developments might have on the wellbeing of the touring party, and so after consultation with Cricket South Africa, we have jointly made the decision to postpone the remaining matches in this Series, in the best interest of the players’ welfare.

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“I would like to thank Cricket South Africa for their support and understanding on this matter and look forward to working with them to identify a time when we can return to play these fixtures in the future.”

There are also now doubts surrounding England’s trip to Sri Lanka next month.

Sri Lanka are currently in South Africa for two Test matches, with the first on Boxing Day.

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They are due to return home on January 8 with England set to face them just six days later on the Asian island.

Sri Lanka stars may now need to quarantine for longer given the new Covid strain, potentially putting England’s tour in doubt.

England are due to play two Tests having already named their squad and are set to fly out on January 2.

  • England Cricket Team

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