ENG vs PAK: Giles says, ‘ECB did not gamble by relaxing COVID-19 protocols during summer’ even as 7 members test COVID-19 positive- Ashley Giles revealed ECB have not risked by putting more relaxed Covid-19 protocols for the England men’s team in this summer.
Three players and four members have contracted the virus prior to the Pakistan series and Ben Stokes has been named the captain of the entire new squad.
Two staff members of the England management team tested positive for the virus on Monday and further tests revealed the spread didn’t contain as it already caught two other members and three players.
All the other members of the squad are safe and are staying at the team hotel in Bristol.
Players have been given a bit extra relaxation than last summer as tests have been less frequent and ECB have decided to introduce a new system.
In a statement, Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the ECB, said that decision was taken to “support the overall wellbeing of our players and management”.
“This year we tried to operate in what we called ‘safe environments’,” Giles said. “Just from the nature of what we were doing this year, playing all around the country, travelling a lot, hotels weren’t sole use. We were sharing certain spaces within the hotel but not key areas like eating areas. And given this [delta] variant, which is clearly more infectious, the risk of us catching infection in the group was obviously going to go up.”
ENG vs PAK: Giles says, ‘ECB did not gamble by relaxing COVID-19 protocols during summer’ even as 7 members test COVID-19 positive
“It’s something we are constantly juggling with and we are certainly juggling with the amount of time our players have spent in these environments. We have extremely busy schedules and we’ve been doing this now for 14 or 15 months. To expect them to adhere in the sense they go to the ground, they stay away from each other, they go back to the hotel, they put their masks on and go straight back to their rooms, eat on their own – it’s almost impossible for that period of time without losing people.
“If we go back to the start of this summer, I think we always hoped we would move somewhat with society, as society started to open up. That was always the plan until the variant arrived. So actually what we had planned in terms of opening up, in terms of much more access to families, eating outside, the normal freedoms other people are taking for granted right now, just didn’t happen.
“We had discussions about this as recent as the weekend with the players. That we still hoped for this to be the case – and then this happens. It’s a reminder to all of us what this can do to a sports team particularly right now. I guess we are sort of living at a different rate to society. We are almost misaligned, at odds to how society is operating. That is particularly difficult when we know one case can shut you down, let alone seven.”