The England Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday morning informed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that the 1st Test between Pakistan and England at Rawalpindi will go ahead as scheduled on Thursday.
Earlier, after several members of the touring squad fell ill with a viral infection there we talks about postponing the start of the series by a day and till Wednesday late evening, but a decision on whether to start the first Test was not taken.
But on Thursday morning, ECB put out a tweet confirming that there will be no delay to the start of the 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.#PAKvENG pic.twitter.com/baafQaEWbF— England Cricket (@englandcricket) December 1, 2022
The start of the Test — England’s first in Pakistan for 17 years — was thrown into doubt after up to seven of the touring side’s players, including captain Ben Stokes, were struck down on Wednesday.
The same number of support staff were also laid low.
England’s only frontline spinner Jack Leach, who has Crohn’s disease, was also suffering from symptoms.
An England and Wales Cricket Board spokesperson earlier said that the illnesses were not Covid-19 related, with players experiencing vomiting and diarrhoea.
The remaining Tests in Multan (December 9-13) and Karachi (December 17-21) — will be played as per schedule.
The series is crucial for Pakistan as they hunt for a place in the ICC World Test Championship 2021/23 Final. They are currently fifth in the table with a point percentage of 51.85 and will need to win as many of their remaining five Tests to remain in contention.
England’s chances of making the Final remain mathematically possible, but they’re realistically out of the race after a poor start to their campaign. They are placed seventh in the standings with a points percentage of 38.6.