Pakistan vs England: Ben Stokes and Co affected by virus ahead of 1st Test; Here's what we know

England Test skipper Ben Stokes

England Test skipper Ben Stokes


  • England and Pakistan are set to play 3 Tests
  • This is England’s first Test series in Pakistan in 17 years
  • The first Test begins on Thursday in Rawalpindi

England's Test squad has reportedly been affected by a virus on the eve of the first Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi.

Around 14 members of the touring party of players and coaches, including England Test skipper Ben Stokes, were asked to rest at the team hotel on Wednesday. About half of the 16-member Test squad has been hit, with only five taking part in an optional training session.

The teams will play the three-match Test series, which is part of the ICC World Test Championship, across three venues - Rawalpindi, Multan and Karachi. The first Test between England and Pakistan is scheduled to begin on Thursday.

England announced their playing XI for the Rawalpindi Test on Tuesday, with Lancashire all-rounder Liam Livingstone been handed his Test debut, while opener Ben Duckett has been recalled to play his first Test in six years.

Among players at training on Wednesday were Joe Root, Zak Crawley, Harry Brook, Ollie Pope and Keaton Jennings, while head coach Brendon McCullum was also in attendance. All of the squad, except for the injured Mark Wood, took part in training the previous day.

The symptoms of those affected are not related to Covid-19, according to BBC Sport, and the English side is only hoping for the players to recover within the next 24 hours.

England are coming on the back of winning their second T20 World Cup. They defeated Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2022 final at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) earlier this month.

Meanwhile, England, who will be playing a Test series in Pakistan for the first time in 17 years, will not go for just a draw in the upcoming series, according to veteran pacer James Anderson.

Since the appointments of Stokes and McCullum as England Test captain and coach, England have been playing an aggressive brand of cricket. The approach has helped the side win six of the seven matches.

"We have got a captain and coach that don't want draws. We are not playing for draws. We don't know how it is going to play. Traditionally it is flat. We will come out and try to win the game - we might have to be creative in how we do that," said Anderson in a recent interview.

England last toured Pakistan in 2005 and Anderson is the only member of the current squad that was part of England's last trip to Pakistan.

When asked about visiting Pakistan again, Anderson said: "It is great to be back. Seventeen years is a long time. It would be wrong if I said 'the pitch is going to play like this, or this is what to expect'. It is a completely different team we are playing against, with completely different conditions. It is about adapting when we get out there."

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