England team captain Ben Stokes missed practice after feeling unwell on Tuesday as his team began preparing for the Headingley Test. Stokes is absent while the rest of the team train before the first Thursday of the final test in a three-match series. A spokesman for the England and Wales Cricket Council said that Stokes tested negative for Covid-19 on Tuesday morning. Stokes is being kept from the group as a precaution.
The 31-year-old, in his first series of Tests as captain, will be assessed again before Wednesday’s net session.
Then on Tuesday, England’s batting coach Marcus Trescothick tested positive for Covid.
The ECB said Trescothick is “currently isolated at home and being monitored daily. Details of his return to the UK facility will be announced in due course.”
Stokes hit 75 from 70 balls in the second half of England’s Second Challenge win over New Zealand at Trent Bridge. It was Britain’s second consecutive win over the Test world champions, winning their first Test series since January 2021. New Zealand has had a number of positive Covid cases in their team over the past few weeks. Captain in black hat Kane Williamson was forced to miss a second test after testing positive on the eve of the game in Nottingham.
All four players are fit and can play at Leeds this week.
While England hope to avoid a Covid outbreak, twin brothers Jamie and Craig Overton are dreaming of the possibility of playing together for the Headingley team.
The 6ft 5in seam bowling siblings are at the ready should England decide to cycle their speed attack with the series won.
For Jamie, who is three minutes younger, it’s uncharted territory, while Craig hopes to get eight more caps on his own.
The duo have played together many times over the years, with North Devon, Somerset and England Under-19s, but first faced off in first-class cricket just days ago.
Jamie, who leaves Taunton for Surrey in 2020, stabbed his brother in his helmet with a quick swing during a County Championship game last week that resulted in a delayed concussion diagnosis.
“I think any sibling rivalry is going to have a bit of spice and me and Craig are probably even more palatable than most people,” Jamie said.
“The family obviously didn’t like seeing Craig on the floor but I think they would have told us if we weren’t giving our best.”
Despite that tough encounter, Craig insists there won’t be any difficulty if just one of them is chosen this week.
“It’s been like this since we were 16. My first first division cricket match we played for the same place and I finally played,” he said.
“We both say to each other ‘whatever happens, we’ll support’ and we always have. We want what’s best for the team and if that means either of us. I miss, that’s the way.”
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