The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) discussed the outbreak of a viral infection in the England men’s test team camp on Wednesday and unanimously agreed to postpone the decision on the start of the first test to 07 here: 07:30 Pakistan time on Thursday. The PCB and the ECB made the decision based on medical advice from the English doctors, with the health and well-being of the players being paramount.
“The two boards have made the decision based on medical advice from the England doctors, which revolved around the health and wellbeing of the players, and agreed that the England cricket team can select an XI for the first of the three ICC World Test Championship matches. which will be played at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium,” the joint statement said.
The boards also said the decision on whether the test would start on Thursday would be made before the test match.
“Subject to the England players not recovering well enough to take the field on Thursday morning, the test will begin on Friday and be a five-day match,” the statement said.
“In this scenario, the schedule of the second Test in Multan and the third Test in Karachi remains unchanged and will be played according to the original schedule, December 9-13 and 17-21 respectively,” it added.
England’s preparation for the first Test, Pakistan’s first in 17 years, was dealt a major blow after 14 members of the tour squad, including captain Ben Stokes, contracted a viral infection. The unwell players are being monitored and have been advised to rest, and as a result have not taken part in final training at Rawalpindi Stadium on the eve of the match.
Joe Root attended the pre-match press conference in place of captain Stokes and highlighted the situation in camp.
“There will have to be Marcus Trescothick, Rob Key and Brendon McCullum – there will have to be a new top three for tomorrow,” Root joked when asked for an update on the England team.
“As far as I know there are a few guys that aren’t feeling 100 percent. I wasn’t feeling great yesterday and I woke up a lot better today. So hopefully it’s just 24 hours of virus; don’t think about food poisoning or Covid or anything like that.
It’s just one of those things that we as a group have unfortunately picked up on. We’re definitely trying to do everything right to make sure we’ve prepared really well for this game and sometimes life throws things like this at you as a team and we just have to see how we pull up tomorrow and be right and ready going,” he added.
England had already named their playing XI before the match, with Liam Livingstone lining up for his Test debut and Ben Duckett back in the side after six years.
Root said England would still look to field the said XI, but admitted changes could be made if someone doesn’t recover in time.
“It’s hard to say. I didn’t see anyone this morning. I literally got straight on the bus. Guys will give it their all. Work really hard in that regard. Time will tell, I guess,” said Root when he was asked if everyone will be. fit for tomorrow.
“There’s not much you can do except do everything you can to refuel and hydrate. Do all the things outside the game that will serve you very well tonight in preparation for tomorrow. That’s all we can do now That’s where we stand as a team.
Sometimes you just pick up a bug and a virus. If you’re all tied together in one hotel, it can spread. We’ve done everything we can to try to reduce that. We have to see how it goes today and tomorrow,” he added.
The series is crucial for Pakistan as they chase for a place in the final of the 2021/23 ICC World Test Championship. They are currently fifth in the table with a points percentage of 51.85 and will need to win as many of their remaining five Tests as possible to stay in contention.
England’s chances of reaching the Final remain mathematically possible, but they are realistically out of the race after a poor start to their campaign. They are seventh in the standings with a point percentage of 38.6.