A day before the Pakistan cricket team was gearing up to host a historic Test series against England, the first since 2005, the start date of the series already seems to be in doubt after several players of the visiting team suffered an illness. Both the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the England Cricket Board (ECB) have released a statement about the same.
PCB & ECB confirm start date of 1st Test could be delayed
Both the PCB and the ECB have released a statement to confirm that the start date of the first Test could be delayed after some England players were down with a viral infection. While both cricketing boards have not provided the details about the illness, a report from ESPN Cricinfo have stated that England players are diagnosed with a stomach bug that has resulted in diarrhoea and vomiting.
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
Former England captain Joe Root has confirmed that the illness is not related to COVID-19 or food but rather a stomach bug. “We don’t think it’s Covid or food-related. We’re hoping it’s just a 24-hour bug and everyone is fit and ready to go tomorrow,” explained Root in a conversation with BBC Sport.
The 31-year-old is confident that the England players could recover in a day, which means that the first Test between the Three Lions and Pakistan could begin a day late. “It’s such a monumental tour and important series for so many reasons. We’ve waited 17 years to come to Pakistan to play a Test match. It means waiting another day, is that the worst thing in the world? We’re all desperate to play this game and we know how important it is to the fans of Pakistan and their team as well,” added Root.
With there being a chance that full-time captain Ben Stokes could be ruled out for the first Test against Pakistan, it is speculated that Root could take over the captaincy once again. When asked about the same, Root replied, “I don’t think that’s going to be the case. Last week Popey stood in and did a great job in the warm-up game. I think that might be the better way for the group moving forward long term.”