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It has been officially announced that the first Test match between England and Pakistan will go ahead as scheduled as of now on Thursday despite some of the English players contracting an unknown virus just a day before the commencement of the game.
Both ECB and PCB have for now delayed the decision to finalise the commencement of the first Test for now. In case England are not able to field their first XI, then the Test match will commence on Friday (December 2).
This decision has been taken after a mutual agreement between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB). If the first Test’s schedule is changed, it has been confirmed that the schedule of the second and third matches will remain unaffected.
The two boards made the decision based on medical advice from the England doctors: ECB
“The Pakistan Cricket Board and England and Wales Cricket Board today discussed the outbreak of viral infection in the England men’s Test team camp and unanimously agreed to delay the decision on the commencement of the first Test, which is due to start on Thursday, until 0730 Pakistan time tomorrow (Thursday),” the ECB stated in a press release on their official website.
“The two boards made the decision based on medical advice from the England doctors, which revolved around the players’ health and welfare, agreeing that the England cricket team are able to select an XI for the first of the three ICC World Test Championship matches, which will be played at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium,” it added.
“The two boards also agreed, subject to the England players not recovering well enough to take the field on Thursday morning, then the Test will commence on Friday and will be a five-day match. In this scenario, the schedule of the second Test in Multan and the third Test in Karachi will remain unaffected and will be played as per original schedule i.e. 9-13 and 17-21 December, respectively,” the statement further added.
As per reports, 13-14 members of the visiting team have contracted the virus which was earlier assumed to be a case of food poisoning. However, the assumption was laid to rest in no time as England team has its own personal chef for this tour. More importantly, it has also been confirmed that the players are not down with COVID-19 either.
The affected players complained of vomiting and diarrhoea as per an ECB spokesperson. The seasoned players including the likes of veteran pacer James Anderson and Test skipper Ben Stokes are down with the virus.