MATT Parkinson is set for a return to international action after England’s entire one-day squad were forced into isolation by a Covid-19 outbreak ahead of the Pakistan series.

The returning Ben Stokes will captain a brand new replacement group featuring nine uncapped players and the Bolton leg spinner.

He was the only player to stay with the England squads during their tours of Sri Lanka and India at the start of the year but, largely used as a reserve, he did not play a game.

The 24-year-old has then been back in Lancashire action this summer with Jack Leach and Adil Rashid ahead of him in red and white-ball cricket.

Parkinson, who has played two one-day internationals and two T20s for England, is joined by Red Rose team-mate Saqib Mahmood and Bury-born Middlesex wicketkeeper-batsman John Simpson, a shock call up at the age of 32, after three players and four staff members tested positive on Monday.

The scale of the issue meant the full squad were deemed to be close contacts, and all members of the party were instructed to isolate for 10 days from July 4, in line with public health guidelines.

The England and Wales Cricket Board moved at breakneck pace to salvage Thursday’s first ODI at Cardiff, as well as games at Lord’s and Edgbaston.

A shadow squad was hastily convened to fulfil the fixtures under Stokes’ guidance, with a raid on the ongoing round of LV= County Championship matches, while counterparts at the Pakistan Cricket Board were contacted to establish the safety of continuing.

Ashley Giles, director of men’s cricket at the ECB, said he was “very confident” there had been no breach of the team protocols and put the developments down to the Delta variant and a slight relaxation around travel and accommodation plans.

Last year’s ‘bio-secure bubble’ proved highly effective in keeping coronavirus out but was deemed too demanding as a long-term solution.

“I’m very confident the players haven’t breached any of those protocols. We can’t say where it originated. The squad have been living under very tight restrictions,” said Giles.

“We haven’t gambled. I don’t believe we’ve gambled at all. We are fully aware of the risks and we are aware of the knife edge that we are working on all the time.

“During this period, the next six games, I think we are going to have to tighten up the environment.”

Bury’s Simpson played first-team Lancashire League cricket for Haslingden when only 10 years old and went on to represent Lancashire in every age group from Under-11 upwards.

Yet, despite appearing for Lancashire seconds and earning his first England Under-19s call-up for the 2005 tour of Bangladesh, it took a move to Middlesex to realise his ambition of becoming a professional cricketer.