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England team’s illness may postpone first Pakistan test

England team’s illness may postpone first Pakistan test

England team’s illness may postpone first Pakistan test

England team’s illness may postpone first Pakistan test

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  • Around 13 to 14 staff members including Six or seven of touring squad sick before first Test
  • 24-hour delay conceivable with ECB monitoring situation
  • Illness does not seem to be Covid-19 at all
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Ben Stokes named his XI for Thursday’s first Test in Rawalpindi two days in advance, awarding Ben Duckett a comeback at opener six years after his last appearance.

A “viral infection” crept through the camp, leaving only Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, and Joe Root for Wednesday’s final training session at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.

An England spokesperson stated that “13 to 14 individuals” of the tour group were sick, including “six or seven” of the 16-man playing team. This includes Stokes and Jack Leach, who controls Crohn’s disease. Reserve spinners Will Jacks and Rehan Ahmed missed nets.

The England team doctor has ruled out food poisoning and Covid-19, and the illness is not serious. Root was sick the day before but has improved overnight and appears to be fit for the start.

If the plague had struck on match day, England would have had to recall retired coaches. The ECB and hosts are monitoring the issue. If others recover more slowly than Root, the match could be delayed another 24 hours.

“I felt sick yesterday and better today, so hopefully it’s a 24-hour thing,” said Root. “It’s something our group has picked up. We’ve tried to prepare for this game, but life happens. We’ll see how the team does Thursday.”

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Root ruled out a comeback to the captaincy just seven months after stepping down, citing Pope’s performance against the Lions last week. Stokes has never chosen a vice captain, but Stuart Broad was unofficial deputy last summer.

England brought its own chef to Pakistan to reduce disease. Omar Meziane, who has worked with England’s football and rugby teams, supervises food preparation at the team hotel in Islamabad and is ill as well.

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