The historic Test match between Pakistan and England at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium will go ahead as planned despite a virus sweeping through the touring team on Wednesday.
England was in turmoil a day out from the first Test against Pakistan with 14 members of the touring party, including skipper Ben Stokes, battling illness.
According to reports, 14 members of the touring party, including half the squad of 16 players, were ordered to rest at the team hotel.
Just five players took part in an optional training session on Wednesday — there were fears the start of the game could be delayed by 24 hours to allow England’s players to recover.
But on Thursday afternoon AEDT, the England and Wales Cricket Board released a statement confirming the team could field 11 players for the Rawalpindi Test.
“The ECB has informed the PCB that they are in a position to field an XI, and, as such, the first Test will commence as per schedule today (Thursday, 1 December) at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium,” the statement read.
Watch the first Test between Australia and the West Indies LIVE and ad-break free during play on Fox Cricket, and stream on Kayo. Coverage starts 11.50am AEDT Wednesday >
NEW FOLLOW-ON PODCAST – Ultimate test series preview; summer of Smudge?
Listen below or subscribe in Apple Podcasts or Spotify
Magic Marnus’ elite Day 1! | 03:14
Ironically, England are reportedly travelling with their own chef for the Test tour after a number of players became ill during the recent T20 series — the chef is also sick.
Joe Root, Zak Crawley, Harry Brook, Ollie Pope and Keaton Jennings were the players at training on Wednesday, along with head coach Brendon McCullum.
The Telegraph’s Nick Hoult revealed how quickly the virus swept through the team since Stokes named his XI for the series opener.
Joe Root said he will not captain the team if Stokes is ruled out, but joked the top three could be coaches McCullum, Marcus Trescothick and Rob Key.
All of the squad apart from the injured Mark Wood took part in a training session the previous day.
The virus is not related to Covid-19 and England medical staff hope the symptoms will subside within 24 hours.
MORE CRICKET NEWS
BURNING QUESTIONS: Unwanted shadow over Aussies; Test legend’s Smith warning
‘PUTTING ALL BAGGAGE BEHIND ME’: Lara reveals career ‘watershed’ moment
AUSSIE XI CONFIRMED: Cult hero snubbed as green Perth monster revealed
‘I’LL HANDLE WARNE’: The eight-hour Aussie torture that launched cricket titan
Short-form star and Lancashire all-rounder Liam Livingstone is due to make his Test debut, while opener Ben Duckett has been recalled to play his first Test in six years.
England are yet to name a vice-captain for new skipper Ben Stokes, who replaced Root at the helm of the Test team after the convincing Ashes series loss to Australia last summer.
Get all the latest cricket news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!!
Pope captained the team in place of the rested Stokes during a warm-up game against England Lions last week.
This will be England’s first Test in Pakistan in 17 years after they stopped touring the country following an attack by gunmen on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009.
England returned to Pakistan for a Twenty20 series in September and October, winning 4-3.
Watch BBLI12. Every game live and ad-break free during play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Lara’s ‘watershed’ batting moment | 01:11