Frustrating if England cricketers have to miss The Hundred: Stokes

All-rounder Ben Stokes, who was appointed England ODI skipper for the Pakistan series after the entire original squad went into isolation due to Covid-19 cases, has said that his country’s cricketers might have to spend more time in the bio-bubble ahead of the five-Test series against India in August-September.

Stokes, who has guided England to a 2-0 win against Pakistan in the three-match ODI series, added that it would be “very frustrating to not be able to participate in The Hundred” if the players have to enter the bio-bubble much earlier than scheduled for the India series.

The Hundred is scheduled between July 21 and August 21.

Of late, Covid-19 cases have caught the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) off-guard and they have had to field an all-new England squad for the ODI series against Pakistan. Besides, the County Championship match between Derbyshire and Essex has had to be abandoned, and Kent have been forced to field their second team.

Owing to a spate of such cases, there is speculation that England Test players might be asked to enter the bio-bubble earlier than scheduled for the series against India, beginning August 4.

“All these things are in place to make sure we’re as safe as possible. I have no doubt things have had to go back to the drawing board. But everything is in place to ensure the safety of players and backroom staff,” Stokes was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“Nothing is set in stone for the India series, but it will be done in the right way. You have to make sacrifices, but at the same time, you have to consider welfare as well. Bubble life is very tough. Just going from hotel to cricket ground can get to you. So, there is a lot to think about in terms of keeping everyone safe and making sure being looked after from the mental health side of things. Because bubbles are very tough,” added Stokes.

Stokes added that while he is prepared for more time inside the bio-bubble, it would be frustrating to miss out on playing in the Hundred.

“It would be very frustrating to not be able to participate in the Hundred,” Stokes said. “It’s a massive event for England and we want to be part of it. We know how big a role players have in making a franchise competition big and if the Test players were unable to play in it because of Covid that would be pretty devastating.”