Pakistan v England: Tourists’ illness could delay first Test





Talks over postponing the first Test between England and Pakistan by a day have been held after the tourists’ squad was affected by an illness.


About 14 members of the party of players and coaches were advised to rest at the hotel on Wednesday, rather than attend training in Rawalpindi


England batter Joe Root said: “It’s not the worst thing if we have to wait to make sure the game isn’t cancelled.”


The discussions between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have included the postponement as a worst-case scenario if it is felt the tourists will not be able to field a competitive side, which would have been the case had the Test been due to start on Wednesday.


A tweet from the PCB said: “The PCB and ECB are in discussions regarding the commencement of the first Test as some England players are down with viral infection. The PCB continues to monitor the situation, is in contact with the ECB and will provide further updates in due course.”


A decision on when the match will go ahead could come as late as Thursday morning.


Speaking to BBC Sport, former captain Root said: “It’s such a monumental tour and important series for so many reasons. We’ve waited 17 years to come to Pakistan to play a Test match. It means waiting another day, is that the worst thing in the world?


“We’re all desperate to play this game and we know how important it is to the fans of Pakistan and their team as well.”


The schedule of the tour is tight, with only three days between each of the three matches. If the first Test in Rawalpindi is delayed, it is thought the gap to the second Test in Multan, due to start on 9 December, would be cut to two days.


About half of the playing squad of 16 has been hit, including captain Ben Stokes. Only five took part in an optional training session on Wednesday.


“We don’t think it’s Covid or food-related. We’re hoping it’s just a 24-hour bug and everyone is fit and ready to go tomorrow,” said Root.


Root said he had suffered symptoms on Tuesday, but felt well enough to train on Wednesday, along with fellow batters Zak Crawley, Harry Brook, Ollie Pope and Keaton Jennings. Head coach Brendon McCullum and batting coach Marcus Trescothick were also in attendance.


England named their XI for the first Test on Tuesday, with Lancashire all-rounder Liam Livingstone due to make his Test debut and opener Ben Duckett has been recalled to play his first Test in six years.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.