Star all-rounder Ben Stokes on Wednesday implored England’s makeshift one-day squad to grab the unexpected opportunity with both hands and play with “a smile on our face” following a sudden COVID-19 outbreak in the main team.

World Cup final hero Stokes will lead a hurriedly-assembled side comprising nine uncapped players in the ODI series against Pakistan after the original squad was forced into isolation following a COVID-19 outbreak just 48 hours before Thursday’s opening match in Cardiff.

Stokes was originally left out of the squad to focus on his recovery from a finger operation.

“The one thing that I told myself to make sure that I told the team, is that although this has been a very quick turnaround of events, in terms of having to pick a new squad, no matter what name is on the back of the England shirt we are walking out there as the No 1 team,” said Stokes.

Ben Stokes…

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