Andy Flower, the head coach of the Trent Rockets, has tested positive for COVID alongside two other members of support staff. Paul Franks will step in as head coach, with Flower set to miss the next three Rockets games due to the mandatory ten days of self-isolation. Steven Mullaney and one other support staff member, two close contacts, will also play no part in Monday’s fixture against the Northern Superchargers.
With Joe Root at the forefront of the Trent set-up, the result will leave England fans and officials sweating at home with just nine days to go until their first Test against India. The last thing Ashley Giles and the ECB will want to deal with after a frantic eighteenth months is scrambling together a completely new side unaffected by contact tracing, as they did with admitted success for the recent ODIs against Pakistan.
It is a timely reminder that the Hundred, along with the rest of the cricketing summer, remains on a knife edge in terms of its continuing stability and success. It will also no doubt leave onlookers with an increasing number of questions over the since seemingly unrepeated need for the entirety of that aforementioned England squad to be withdrawn from duty. The rules in these scenarios, as is becoming familiar in 2021, are somewhat unclear.