England and Pakistan have decided to delay the start of the 1st Test between the two nations due to an outbreak of virus in the Three Lions’ camp.
“The Pakistan Cricket Board and England and Wales Cricket Board today discussed the outbreak of viral infection in the England men’s Test team camp and unanimously agreed to delay the decision on the commencement of the first Test, which is due to start on Thursday, until 0730 Pakistan time tomorrow (Thursday),” an ECB release stated.
“The two boards also agreed, subject to the England players not recovering well enough to take the field on Thursday morning, then the Test will commence on Friday and will be a five-day match. In this scenario, the schedule of the second Test in Multan and the third Test in Karachi will remain unaffected and will be played as per original schedule i.e. 9-13 and 17-21 December, respectively,” it added.
Earlier in the day, England’s preparation for the opening test was thrown into disarray by a virus sweeping through the camp. Captain Ben Stokes is among several England players who skipped Wednesday’s optional training session after being laid low by the bug.
Former captain Joe Root was one of five players who did attend. “As far as I’m aware, a few guys are not feeling 100%,” Root told a news conference.
“I didn’t feel great yesterday and I woke up a lot better today. So, hopefully, it’s a 24-hour virus. Don’t think it’s like food poisoning or COVID or anything like that.
“We are trying to do absolutely everything right to make sure we are prepared for this game.”
England have named their starting 11, giving a test debut to Liam Livingstone and recalling Ben Duckett to open with Zak Crawley.
England are on their first test tour of Pakistan since 2005. They have hired a chef for the tour after receiving feedback from players who visited Pakistan in September-October for a seven-match T20 series.
(With Reuters inputs)