England Test stars ‘to miss knockout stages’ of The Hundred amid Covid concerns

The availability of England 's Test stars for The Hundred was always going to be limited, with a five-match series against India due to start on August 4.

The ECB confirmed ahead of the start of the tournament that any players picked in the squad for that first Test would be available for the opening two rounds of The Hundred.

They also stated that a decision would be made "in due course" about player availability for the knockout stages.

Currently, the men's eliminator is due to be played on August 20, with the final set to take place the following day.

Meanwhile, England's second Test against India is due to finish on August 16 and the third Test is due to start on August 25, meaning the likes of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Joe Root could feature if their team made it to the business end of the tournament.

However, according to a report from the Daily Mail, England's Test players will not be available for the knockout stages of The Hundred, with the ECB keen to minimise Covid risks.

England have already been hit by a Covid outbreak this summer, with their entire ODI squad forced into self-isolation following the Sri Lanka series after a raft of positive tests.

As a result, it is claimed that the ECB have drawn up a number of 'restrictive measures' in a bid to avoid a repeat for the lucrative series against India, which is believed to be worth at least £100m in domestic broadcast revenue.

One of these new measures will see the Test squad kept apart from their counterparts at The Hundred once their involvement in the opening two rounds of the tournament has come to an end.

India, meanwhile, have had a Covid scare ahead of the series, with wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant testing positive for the virus earlier this month.

Pant tested positive before he was due to link up with the rest of the squad to travel to Durham, where India have been playing a warm-up match against a County Select XI.

The 23-year-old has now recovered and completed his mandatory ten-day isolation period, meaning he has now re-joined the Indian squad.

Pant is not the only member of India's travelling party to have been in quarantine, with training assistant Dayanand Garani also testing positive for Covid and bowling coach Bharat Arun, fellow wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and opener Abhimanyu Easwaran being deemed close contacts.

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