England’s preparation for the first Test of the historic series against Pakistan has been hampered by a viral infection that has infected several players, including captain Ben Stokes. The ill players were advised to rest, so they did not take part in the final practice session at Rawalpindi Stadium on the eve of the match. The ECB and PCB later stated that they were in talks about “The PCB tweeted, “The PCB and ECB are in discussions regarding the commencement of the 1st #PAKvENG Test as some England players are down with a viral infection.” The PCB is still monitoring the situation, is in contact with the ECB, and will provide further updates as they become available.
Rawalpindi 1st Test Match Discussions
Instead of Captain Stokes, Joe Root took questions during the pre-match press conference and shed light on the situation in the camp. When asked for an update on the England squad, Root joked, “There’s going to have to be Marcus Trescothick, Rob Key, and Brendon McCullum – there’s going to have to be a new top three for tomorrow. As far as I know, there are a few guys who aren’t feeling 100%.” I didn’t feel well yesterday, but I awoke feeling much better today. So, hopefully, it’s just a virus for 24 hours; don’t think food poisoning, Covid, or anything else.
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It’s just one of those things that we, sadly, have picked up as a group. We’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re ready for this game, and sometimes life throws these kinds of things at you as a team, so we’ll just have to see how we pull up tomorrow and be right and ready to go. England had already named their starting XI for the game, with Liam Livingstone set to make his Test debut and Ben Duckett returning after a six-year absence. England will still field the named XI, according to Root, but changes may be made if anyone fails to recover in time.
It’s difficult to say,” Root said when asked if everyone will be ready for tomorrow. “I didn’t see anyone this morning.” I literally jumped on the bus. Guys will go to any length. Work extremely hard in this regard. I suppose only time will tell. Aside from doing everything you can to fuel and hydrate, there isn’t much you can do.” Do everything away from the game that will serve you well tonight in preparation for tomorrow. That’s all we can do for the time being. It’s where we are as a group.
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Sometimes you simply pick up a bug or a virus. It can spread when everyone is confined to one hotel. We have done everything possible to mitigate this. We’ll have to wait and see what happens today and tomorrow. The series is critical for Pakistan as they attempt to qualify for the ICC World Test Championship Final in 2021/23. They currently sit fifth in the table with a point percentage of 51.85 and will need to win all five of their remaining Tests to stay in contention.
England’s chances of reaching the Final remain mathematically viable, but they are realistically out of the running following a poor start to their campaign. With a points percentage of 38.6, they are seventh in the standings.