England captain Ben Stokes on Tuesday missed training after feeling unwell as his team began its preparations for the Headingley Test. Stokes was absent while the rest of the team trained before the first day of the final Test in the three-match series. An England and Wales Cricket Board spokesperson indicated that Stokes had tested negative for Covid-19 on Tuesday morning. As a precaution, Stokes is being kept away from the group.
The 31-year-old, in his first Test series as captain, will be re-evaluated ahead of Wednesday’s nets session.
Later on Tuesday, England batting coach Marcus Trescothick tested positive for Covid.
The ECB said Trescothick “is currently in isolation at home and is being monitored daily. Details of his return to the England set-up will be announced in due course.”
Stokes scored 75 off 70 balls in the second innings of England’s second Test victory over New Zealand at Trent Bridge. It was England’s second consecutive win against the Test world champions, securing their first Test series win since January 2021. New Zealand has seen a number of positive Covid cases over the past few weeks. Black Caps captain Kane Williamson was forced to miss the second Test after testing positive on the eve of the match in Nottingham.
Along with Williamson, tourists have seen Henry Nicholls, Devon Conway, Michael Bracewell and two members of his previous team deliver positive results after arriving in England.
All four players are fit and available to play in Leeds this week.
While England hope to survive the Covid outbreak, twin brothers Jamie and Craig Overton are potentially dreaming of taking the field together for the hosts at Headingley.
The 6ft 5in seam-bowling siblings are on stand-by should England decide to rotate their pace attack with a series already won.
For the uncapped Jamie, who’s younger brother by three minutes, it’s unknown territory, while Craig is hoping to add to his eight caps.
The pair have played several times over the years with North Devon, Somerset and England Under-19s, but came face-to-face in first-class cricket for the first time just a few days ago.
Jamie, who left Taunton for Surrey in 2020, hit his brother with a sharp bouncer on the helmet during a County Championship match last week, prompting a late diagnosis.
“I think there’s always a little extra spice in any sibling rivalry and I and Craig are probably more spicy than most people,” Jamie said.
“The family obviously didn’t like seeing Craig on the floor, but I think they would have let us know if we weren’t giving our all.”
Despite that grueling encounter, Craig insists there will be no hard feelings if only one of them is chosen this week.
“It’s been like this since we were 16. My first game of first-class cricket, we were competing for the same spot and I ended up playing,” he said.
“We both said to each other ‘whatever happens, we’ll be supportive’ and we’ve always been like that. We want what’s best for the team and if that means either one of us If you miss, this is the way.”
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