Ramiz Raja, a former Pakistan batsman, chastised England for failing to follow Covid-19 regulations, which resulted in seven of their players testing positive. In the upcoming series, he also advised Pakistan to take advantage of the hosts’ “negativity.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was quick to identify a new 18-man squad, captained by all-rounder Ben Stokes, that included nine players who had never played before. Ramiz Raja described Ben Stokes’ readmission as a desperate decision after he suffered a fracture in his left index finger during the IPL 2021.
“England players have tested positive, which is not a good thing. But it can bring negativity into the dressing room and you need to reboot your combination. They have brought Ben Stokes back, so you can understand their desperation,” Ramiz Raja said on his YouTube channel.
While the ECB’s men’s director of cricket, Ashley Giles, ruled out any breach of protocol, Ramiz Raja chastised them for dismissing the existing situation and refusing to abide by statutory limits.
“Their attitude towards Covid-19 was very bizarre. They felt like they were in jail and were not ready to follow protocols like wearing masks and social distancing, and this desperation has resulted in their team grabbing negative headlines,” Ramiz Raja, who scored 8,674 runs from 57 Tests and 198 ODIs, added.
On Monday (July 5), two members of the team management tested positive, prompting everyone in the camp to undergo RT-PCR tests. Those who were not infected with the virus were likewise placed in isolation after being identified as close contacts. Chris Silverwood, who had been on sabbatical in Norfolk, will return as head coach.
Our new squad to face @TheRealPCB in the Royal London Series 🏴🏏
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 6, 2021
“Pakistan team has gotten advantage” – Ramiz Raja
England was on a roll, having swept Sri Lanka 5-0 in the recent limited-overs series, with the third ODI being rained out. In perfect circumstances, Eoin Morgan’s team would have breezed over Pakistan as well.
But, because of the team’s relative inexperience and weakness, Ramiz Raja believes the visitors have a chance.
“Pakistan team has gotten advantage and they should benefit from the negativity in England’s dressing room. Pakistan have got some breathing space because of this tragedy, but it remains to be seen how they will play,” Ramiz Raja stated.
Despite the extremely contagious Delta strain circulating in the UK, England will play Pakistan in three ODIs and as many T20Is, with all six matches taking place at different venues. The second One-Day International at Lord’s on July 10 will be sold out.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) July 6, 2021