England have released five players from the bio-secure bubble at Emirates Old Trafford. Joe Denly will move over to the white-ball training group down at the Ageas Bowl ahead of the Ireland series, while Dan Lawrence, Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson and Olly Stone have returned to their counties.
England’s three-Test series against West Indies had featured an enlarged squad, with a number of players retained as reserves in the event of Covid-19 substitutions being required. Six back-ups remain at Emirates Old Trafford after England named their XI for the third Test: James Bracey, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach and Mark Wood.
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Denly, who played the first Test of the series before being dropped following the return of Joe Root from paternity leave, will join the white-ball group on Monday, with the first of three ODIs against Ireland taking place on Thursday,
Stone, who had suffered a hamstring injury during the intra-squad match prior to the series, was already back in action with Warwickshire on Friday, picking up a couple of wickets after lunch on day one of a two-day friendly against Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston.
Should any of those released from the group be called up again for the Tests against Pakistan, they will have to undergo a five-day isolation and return two negative Covid-19 tests before rejoining the bio-secure environment.
Although there is only a one-week gap between the end of the third West Indies Test and the start of the Pakistan series, England’s Test group are expected to be granted some time out of the bubble, subject to various conditions, in order to visit their families.