Pak vs England 2022-23 – 1st Test

Officials in England and Pakistan are discussing a possible 24-hour delay in the first Test in Pakistan, after 13 to 14 members of England’s squad – including half of the 16-man polling pool – fell ill on Wednesday.

The problem is thought to be a virus or bug rather than food poisoning, with England taking particular care in what they eat with the help of a chef, Omar Meezan, who has accompanied the team on the tour. However, on Tuesday, some players reported feeling sick and were told to stay in their rooms to limit the risk of the virus spreading.

England captain Ben Stokes and James Anderson are believed to be two of those affected. Jack Leach, who lives with Crohn’s disease and takes immune-suppressing drugs, is experiencing symptoms but is said to be fine. Joe Root had symptoms on Tuesday but recovered enough to train on Wednesday. Similarly, Mark Wood, who was already set to miss the first Test with an injury, is showing signs of improvement after missing training and being confined to his room on Tuesday.

An ECB spokesperson confirmed that the illnesses were not related to Covid-19, with the players experiencing vomiting and diarrhoea. The virus is expected to pass within 24 hours, though with the first match of the three-match series starting in Rawalpindi on Thursday, England’s chances of a strong start have been severely damaged.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Root acknowledged that talks about a rescheduled start of the match were ongoing, with officials from both boards – PCB chairman Ramiz Raja, and ECB’s Rob Key and Neil Snowball – Meeting to consider all options. The final decision is expected to rest with the England team doctors, who are due to assess the players at 8am local time, two hours before the scheduled start of play.

Playing times have already been squeezed by the harsh winter sun, with a delayed start to Thursday’s game already ruled out. The playing conditions for the World Test Championship require all matches to be played in a five-day window, so if the game is to be rescheduled as a four-day Test, an ICC dispensation would be required. However, an ECB spokesperson confirmed that the game would not start under the current circumstances.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re in this situation, but we don’t think it’s food-related,” Root said. “I don’t think there’s a connection between the two and actually the chef is sick, so I don’t think it’s the food.

“The thing is, we’ve been trying to get a chef on board for a couple of years. This is the first time we’ve had the chance to do it. Look at all the other international sports teams around, even “Premier League and Championship teams too. They have their own chef, so we think from the nutrition and performance side of things, we do everything we can to improve ourselves and be in the right position to perform.” trying.”

Apart from Root, only Zac Crowley, Ollie Pope and Harry Brook, and Keaton Jennings, of the starting XI, trained in a session at the ground on Wednesday which was optional before the big outbreak. The team named by Stokes on Tuesday could look very different now, with the debut of Liam Livingstone and a return to the fold for opener Ben Duckett.

“Marcus Trescothick, Rob Key and Brendon McCullum will have to be the new top three for tomorrow,” joked Root. “As far as I know there are some people who are not feeling 100 per cent but – I wasn’t feeling well yesterday but I got better today – so hopefully it’s just a 24-hour virus and I don’t think It’s food. Poison or covid or something like that.

“I think it’s just one of those things that we’ve picked up as a group unfortunately – we’ve tried to do absolutely everything, we’ve prepared really well for this game and some Sometimes life throws things at you but we will. We can do everything we can to get better tomorrow and be right and ready to go.”

Asked if he was confident everyone would be fit for Thursday morning’s selection, Root said: “It’s hard to say, I haven’t seen anyone this morning, we’ve literally just “I’m on board, so the boys will do everything they can. Be right in that aspect, time will really tell.”

The outbreak broke out at the Serena Hotel in Islamabad, where both England and Pakistan are staying with members of the UK media. England occupy a wing on the second floor and an executive lounge on the sixth floor, which serves as their team room. Their movement around the hotel is not restricted, except that they can go outside the 14-acre complex.

This is not the first time England have been hit with illness at the start of a tour recently. On the 2019–20 tour of South Africa, during the Boxing Day Test in Pretoria and another bug struck the squad, with several players having to leave the field of play to use the toilet and take fluids. In a separate room away from the group. They lost the test. The rate of spread of this particular virus was such that many England players wondered if they had been infected with an early version of CoVID-19. But, as now, the signs were very different.

“I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. It’s horrible,” Root said. “Running on and off the field all the time. But sometimes it’s part and parcel of where you are as a team. [Centurion 2019] It was very unfortunate because many of us fell ill during the Test match, not going to the game. But hopefully it’s not something we have to contend with, and tomorrow everyone turns out well and we can enjoy what has been an interesting series and keep cricket as a conversation. Is.”

Root added that he was not aware if any reinforcements were being discussed, with the Lions squad flying home from Abu Dhabi at the end of a warm-up with the Test squad last week, and said that as captain Wasn’t expecting to stand up. If Stokes doesn’t fit.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “The ole Pope did it the other day and he’s going to do a great job, so we’ll see. Hopefully that’s not the conversation we need.

This is disappointing. Things away from the game that will serve you well overnight in preparation for tomorrow.

“That’s where we are as a team. Sometimes that happens, and when we’re all together in the same hotel, it can spread around. We’ll see how we shape up tomorrow. It’s part and parcel of being on tour. Sometimes these things get thrown at you and that’s why you have 15 guys here, so in case of injury or illness you’re ready to go. “

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo.

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