The historic Test match between Pakistan and England, to be played at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, will continue as scheduled despite a virus ravaging the touring team on Wednesday.
The day after England’s first Test against Pakistan, they were in disarray with 14 members of the touring team battling the disease, including captain Ben Stokes.
According to reports, 14 members of the touring team, including half of the 16-player team, were ordered to rest at the team hotel.
Only five players attended an optional training session on Wednesday – it was feared the start of the game could be delayed by 24 hours to allow the England players to recover.
But on Thursday afternoon the AEDT, the England and Wales Cricket Board issued a statement confirming that the team will be able to field 11 players for the Rawalpindi Test.
«The ECB has notified PCB that they are in a position to pitch an XI and therefore, the first Test will begin today (Thursday 1 December) on schedule, at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium,» the statement said.
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Ironically, he is reportedly traveling with his own chief for the Test round after several players fell ill during England’s recent T20 series – the chief is also ill.
Joe Root, Zak Crawley, Harry Brook, Ollie Pope and Keaton Jennings were the players training Wednesday, along with head coach Brendon McCullum.
Nick Hoult of The Telegraph explained how quickly the virus has swept the team since Stokes chose 11 to open the series.
Joe Root said he wouldn’t captain the team if Stokes were eliminated, but joked that the top three could be coaches McCullum, Marcus Trescothick and Rob Key.
The entire squad, except for the injured Mark Wood, attended a training session the previous day.
The virus has nothing to do with Covid-19 and UK medical staff hope the symptoms will subside within 24 hours.
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Short-form star and Lancashire all-rounder Liam Livingstone was to make his Test debut, while introvert Ben Duckett was recalled to play his first Test in six years.
England have not designated a vice-captain for new captain Ben Stokes, who replaced Root as the head of the Test team after the loss of the Ashes series to Australia last summer.
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Pope captained the team last week, replacing a rested Stokes in a warm-up game against the England Lions.
This will be Britain’s first Test in Pakistan in 17 years, which stopped touring the country after gunmen attacked a Sri Lankan team bus in 2009.
England returned to Pakistan for the Twenty20 series in September and October and won 4-3.
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