Pakistan vs England, 1st Test could be delayed: Here's why
The first Test between England and Pakistan could face a 24-hour delay. As per ESPNcricinfo, nearly 14 members of the England squad, including the players, suffered an illness on Wednesday. It is believed to be a virus or bug rather than food poisoning, given England have carried their personal chef for this tour. The three-match Test series kick-starts on Thursday.
Why does this story matter?
- As per reports, some players felt unwell on Tuesday, having experienced vomiting and diarrhea.
- Players were then told to limit themselves to their rooms, preventing any further spread of the virus.
- The illness is not COVID-19 related, as per an ECB spokesperson. The effects are likely to pass in 24 hours.
- A final decision on the starting time of the Rawalpindi Test isn't confirmed.
Where did the incident take place?
Both teams have been staying alongside the members of the UK media at the Serena Hotel in Islamabad. England have been assigned a wing on the second floor, besides an executive lounge on the sixth floor that is serving as their team room.
Stokes and Anderson have been affected by the virus
England captain Ben Stokes and James Anderson are among those affected. Spinner Jack Leach, who suffers from Crohn's disease which weakens his immune system, has shown symptoms but is fine. Pacer Mark Wood, who was set to miss the Rawalpindi Test, seems to be recovering well as well. Joe Root showed symptoms on Tuesday but recovered in time to train on Wednesday.
Pope, Crawley turn up for the training session on Wednesday
Besides Root, only Ollie Pope, Zak Crawley, and Harry Brook from the Playing XI participated in the training session on Wednesday. Keaton Jennings too joined them in the session. T20 ace Liam Livingstone is set to make his debut, while Ben Duckett returns to the format after a six-year-long wait. There could be changes in the Playing XI.
England announce Playing XI for the first Test
England confirmed the Playing XI for the Rawalpindi Test. England's 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.
Will there be any reinforcements?
There's no update if any reinforcements will be called-up, confirmed former England skipper Root while talking to the media on Wednesday. Moreover, the England Lions squad departed for home from Abu Dhabi at the end of last week's warm-up with the Test unit. Root added that he isn't expected to be the stand-in captain even if Stokes isn't fit for the fixture.
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. A number of 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 have toured Pakistan after 17 years. The Brits won the seven-match T20Is 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.
How the two sides have fared in this WTC cycle?
Pakistan are currently fifth in the ICC World Test Championship rankings with a PCT of 51.85%. They have four wins, three defeats, and two draws in this cycle. England (38.6%) are reeling at seventh place. They have seven wins, eight defeats, and four draws. The top two sides will qualify for the WTC championship final, which takes place next year.