Viral infection in England camp forces Test vs Pakistan to be postponed
Cricket boards from Pakistan and England are in discussions after a scare of viral infection threatens to postpone the opening Test of the historic three-match series in Rawalpindi from Thursday (December 1).
As per a BBC report, as many as 14 England players have been observed "unwell" leading into the scheduled Test match. The report stated that skipper Ben Stokes is one of the individuals from the playing contingent sick with the infection.
Only former captain Joe Root, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope were seen practising for England in Rawalpindi on Wednesday (November 30), as the rest of the squad was confined to hotel rooms amidst scare of viral spread.
It isn't clear if the viral spread is caused by Covid-19 but the situation as it stands has forced Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) authorities to discuss the fate of the first Test, with the threat of postponement looming large.
ECB, PCB discuss the fate of Rawalpindi Test
"The PCB and ECB are in discussions regarding the commencement of the 1st #PAKvENG 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," the PCB confirmed in a statement.
The PCB and ECB are in discussions regarding the commencement of the 1st #PAKvENG 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.— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) November 30, 2022
ECB confirmed the development at their end: "We are in discussions with the PCB regarding the start of the first Test due to a viral infection within our camp."
It is understood that several England players part of the touring party have experienced vomiting and diarrhoea in the build up to the Test series since their arrival. With those symptoms, they were told to stay intact in their hotel rooms in Islamabad, as the organisers feared for the potential spread of the bug involved.
Root, who was seen practising at the eve of the scheduled start to the Rawalpindi Test, was also observed sick but recovered in time to get on with his net session.
The Test series is part of the ongoing World Test Championship (WTC) cycle and marks England men's first visit in the longest version to Pakistan after 17 years.