Pakistan vs England: 1st Test to commence as per schedule
The first Test between Pakistan and England will commence as per schedule as the visitors are in a position to field a playing XI. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) informed the same to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday (December 1) morning. The Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium will host the opener of the historic three-match series. Here are further details.
Why does this story matter?
- As many as 14 members of England's squad including skipper Ben Stokes fell sick on the eve of the contest.
- Dark clouds were looming over the game and the prospect of the match being delayed by 24 hours arose.
- However, hours before the contest, ECB and PCB in a joint statement confirmed that the contest won't see any delay.
What did the boards say?
"The ECB has informed the PCB that they are in a position to field an XI, and, as such, the first #PAKvENG Test will commence as per schedule today (Thursday, 1 December) at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium," PCB and ECB said in a joint statement.
Official statement from ECB!
The ECB has informed the PCB that they are in a position to field an XI, and, as such, the first Test will commence as per schedule today (Thursday, 1 December) at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.#PAKvENG pic.twitter.com/baafQaEWbF— England Cricket (@englandcricket) December 1, 2022
England's playing XI not confirmed
Notably, the Three Lions had announced their playing XI on the eve of the contest. However, there was no confirmation on whether the team would be able to field the announced line-up. England's announced Playing XI: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (captain), Ben Foakes (wicket-keeper), Liam Livingstone, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson.
Only five players turned up for the practice session
Only five England cricketers - Joe Root, Zak Crawley, Harry Brook, Ollie Pope and - were present in the training session on Wednesday. The rest were advised to rest by the ECB medical team. T20 ace Liam Livingstone is set to make his debut, while Ben Duckett returns to the format after 2016. However, there could be multiple changes in the announced XI.
A similar incident from 2019
As per ESPNcricinfo, England were struck with an illness during the 2019-20 tour of South Africa, ahead of the first Test in Pretoria. Several players were reported leaving the field of play to use the toilets. Besides, the players took fluids in separate changing rooms. England ended up losing the Test but won the series versus South Africa 3-1.
A historic Test series for England and Pakistan
England are touring Pakistan after 17 years. The Brits won the T20I leg of the tour by a 4-3 margin. England last played a Test series in Pakistan in the 2005-06 tour, losing the three-match series. The visitors will be looking to script history in the upcoming red-ball encounters. Notably, the series is a part of the ongoing ICC World Test Championship cycle.