Sam Billings and Alex Ross
Image Source: Twitter

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have asked the England white-ball players currently participating in Australia’s Big Bash League 2021-22 (BBL 11) to leave Australia and come back to the UK as soon as possible, after an exponential increase in COVID cases down under.

The Cricketer reported that the ECB, mindful of rising cases of Covid in the country, has asked all players involved in the T20 tour of the Caribbean to fly back to London within days.

This comes after the England Test squad in Australia has experienced an outbreak of COVID within support staff and family members of the players. Head coach Chris Silverwood tested positive for the COVID virus while isolating with his family, a member of whom had tested positive previously.

England Coach Chris Silverwood
England Coach Chris Silverwood (Image Credit: Twitter)

Apart from Silverwood, two members of support staff and two other family members had tested positive for the virus before day 2 of the MCG Ashes Test. Pace bowling coach Jon Lewis, spin mentor Jeetan Patel, and strength and conditioning specialist Darren Veness have also tested positive.

Graham Thorpe has been left in charge of the coaching duties of the England team for the upcoming fourth Test of Ashes 2021-22 in Sydney.

England Players Chosen For West Indies T20I Tour Asked To Return To UK Immediately By ECB

As per reports, The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have asked any player who has been picked for the upcoming five-match T20I series in the Caribbean against the West Indies, to begin in Barbados on January 22, is expected to return to the UK by January 7. In most cases, that will reduce their stays in Australia by at least a week.

HOBART, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 14: Tymal Mills of the Scorchers celebrates the wicket of Caleb Jewell of the Hurricanes during the Men's Big Bash League match between the Hobart Hurricanes and the Perth Scorchers at Blundstone Arena, on December 14, 2021, in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)
. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

Among the players asked to return to the UK are Saqib Mahmood, who has been on standby for the Test squad in recent weeks, George Garton, Reece Topley, Sam Billings, James Vince, and Tymal Mills. Billings and Mahmood were selected to play for Sydney Thunder on Sunday, while Mills appeared for Perth Scorchers against Adelaide Strikers.

Chris Jordan has already left for the UK.

Meanwhile, the Melbourne Stars have been dealt a huge blow as they are without 18 people – 10 players and eight back-room staff – due to Covid, with others teams also struggling with mass withdrawals.

With restrictions on travel, the BBL franchises will find it difficult to find high-quality replacements from other countries.

ENGLAND SQUAD FOR WEST INDIES T20s: Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Liam Dawson, George Garton, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Tymal Mills, David Payne, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, James Vince

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