ECB Reports Zero Positive Cases Ahead of West Indies Series

England’s 30-man training group for the upcoming three-test series against West Indies returned no positive tests for COVID-19, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Wednesday.

The ECB said in a statement here that a total of 702 tests were conducted from June 3-23 on players and match officials plus ECB, venue, hotel and support staff, with all of them negative.

Fast bowler Jofra Archer has been delayed in joining the squad after he had a precautionary test for COVID-19 when a member of his household felt unwell last weekend. The result of that test is expected to be announced on Thursday.The first test match is scheduled to begin in Southampton on July 8 without spectators followed by games in Manchester.

ALSO READ | It’s a Bit Different & Bit Weird, But We’ll Have to Get Used to: Mark Wood on Training in Bio-secure Bubble

England will then host Pakistan in three tests and three Twenty20 internationals starting on July 30 but doubts remain over whether the tour can go ahead after the Pakistan Cricket Board said 10 of their players tested positive for the virus.

On the other hand, recreational cricket is not resuming in England for now. Former England captain Michael Vaughan criticised UK Prime Minister and self-confessed "village cricketer" Boris Johnson on Tuesday over the "nonsense" of upholding the ban on the recreational game due to the coronavirus.

Social tennis and golf are now allowed in England, but amateur cricketers continue to wait beyond the boundary.

"We're still working on ways to make cricket more COVID-secure, but we can't change the guidance yet," Johnson told Parliament on Tuesday as he announced an easing of virus restrictions on pubs and restaurants.