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England Team “Down With Viral Infection”, 1st Test vs Pak May Be Postponed

The first test between England and Pakistan could be postponed after around half of the tour side’s players, including captain Ben Stokes, were hit by an unspecified virus a day before the game. The Pakistan Cricket Board said on Wednesday it is discussing next steps with the England and Wales Cricket Board. “The PCB and the ECB are discussing the start of the 1st #PAKvENG test as some UK players have a viral infection,” the board said on Twitter.

“The PCB continues to monitor the situation, is in contact with the ECB and will provide further updates in due course.”

A ceremony for the two captains to unveil the series trophy was postponed to earlier in the day to allow Stokes time to recover.

Former captain Joe Root told reporters that “a few guys weren’t feeling 100 per cent” but gave no details on individual players and possible changes to the starting eleven.

“It’s hard to say, I didn’t see anyone this morning,” he said, adding: “I don’t think it’s food poisoning or Covid or anything like that, it’s just one of those things that we’ve unfortunately picked up on as a group.

“I felt unwell yesterday and woke up much better today, so hopefully it lasts 24 hours.”

The UK press had previously reported that players were suffering from viral food poisoning after the ECB issued a statement saying that “several players and staff, including England captain Ben Stokes, are feeling unwell and have been advised to stay in the hotel to to rest.”.

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ECB spokesman Danny Reuben later clarified that “13-14 of the team members, including six to seven players, are suffering from a virus that is not food poisoning or Covid related”.

Root, Zak Crawley, Harry Brook, Ollie Pope and Keaton Jennings were the players at training on Wednesday, while head coach Brendon McCullum was also in attendance. The whole team trained on Tuesday.

Lancashire all-rounder Liam Livingstone will make his Test debut on Thursday, while opener Ben Duckett was recalled for his first Test in six years.

England are on their first Test tour of Pakistan in 17 years, after their Twenty20 side played seven games in the country two months ago and won the series 4-3.

Problems with food and players falling ill during the Twenty20 series led to the decision to bring along a chef, Omar Meziane, who also worked with the England men’s football team at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and at Euro 2020.

England and Pakistan will contest a series of three Tests, with the second starting in Multan on December 9 and the third in Karachi from December 17-21.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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