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England-Pakistan series

Decision on Pakistan-England Test start delayed to Thursday


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|| AFP ||

A decision on whether to start the first Test between Pakistan and England will be taken early Thursday morning after several members of the touring squad fell ill with a viral infection, the home cricket board said.

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. 

"The two boards discussed the outbreak of a viral infection in the England camp and unanimously agreed to delay the decision on the commencement of the first Test until 0730 Pakistan time (02:30 GMT) tomorrow," said a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) release.

The decision was reached after medical advice from the England doctors, it added.

Both boards will also look at the option of postponing the Test for a day.

"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."

England's only frontline spinner Jack Leach, who has Crohn's disease, is suffering from symptoms. 

He caught sepsis after picking up a stomach bug on the tour of New Zealand two years ago.

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, said the release.

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