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STRANGE: Ben Stokes says England’s cricket situation is ’exciting thing’

STRANGE: Ben Stokes says England’s cricket situation is ’exciting thing’

PA - Jon Super

Ben Stokes says England cricket’s strange situation in which they have had to draft in 18 players due to coronavirus is ‘an exciting thing’.

Stokes is set to captain a makeshift England side after seven people within the original camp caught coronavirus. That meant that England had to pick a brand new squad for their series against Pakistan.

James Vince, Dawid Malan and Craig Overton are among those that have been recalled as part of the new squad as England will now be without the likes of Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root for the One Day Internationals which begin on Thursday.

There are also completely new faces such as Durham’s Brydon Carse and Gloucestershire’s David Payne and Stokes has called on England’s makeshift one-day squad to make the most of an unexpected opportunity and play with “a smile on our face”.

Stokes will captain a hurriedly-assembled side in the Royal London Series against Pakistan after the original group of players and staff were forced into isolation by a Covid-19 outbreak just 48 hours before Thursday’s opening match in Cardiff.

He had originally been left out of the squad to focus on his recovery from a finger operation, but answered an SOS to lead a group that features nine uncapped players and a handful of unplanned recalls.

Stokes said: “One thing I told myself to tell the team is that, although this has been a very quick turnaround of events in having to pick a new squad, it does not matter what names are on the back of an England shirt: we are walking out there as the number one team.

“That is an exciting thing to say you are a part of whether you are an experienced player, young player or someone coming into the group for the first time. 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.”

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