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England team infected by virus on the eve of Rawalpindi Test; 14 members of touring party stay indoors

Rawalpindi, Nov 30: The England cricket team has arrived in Pakistan for the three-match Test series after a gap of 17 years. However, on the eve of the historic opening Test in Rawalpindi, the English camp is hit by a virus as 14 members of the touring squad have been infected.

As per media reports, the infected members of the English squad were on Wednesday (November 30) advised to stay inside their hotel room and rest. Only five members of the Ben Stokes-led side came out to practice in the nets.

As per a BBC report, the symptoms of those affected are not related to Covid-19 and the management is hopeful of recovery within 24 hours. The match starts Thursday (December 1) in Rawalpindi.

Match could start a day late:

If the players do not recover within 24 hours then the match might begin a day late. The officials of the England Cricket Board and Pakistan Cricket Board are in talks about the same.

Earlier in the day, the visitors announced their playing XI for the first Test and announced all-rounder Liam Livingstone will be making his debut in the red-ball format.

Livingstone will bat at number eight in Rawalpindi after seeing off competition from Will Jacks, as well as offering a spin-bowling option for Ben Stokes' side.

Meanwhile, another significant change sees Ben Duckett come in for his first Test appearance since 2016, replacing Alex Lees at the top of the batting order.

Asked about Livingstone's qualities, Stokes highlighted the way his style fits the aggressive philosophy of head coach Brendon McCullum.

"He's one of those cricketers who can come on from anywhere and take a wicket when the ball's flowing the opposition's way," Stokes said.

"It was a pretty simple conversation I had with him, actually before we went out to Australia for the [T20] World Cup. I obviously told him where we stood in terms of him playing some red-ball cricket out in the subcontinent.

"With the skill he has with the ball and the way he plays with the bat, [he] is very aligned with how me and Baz want to see the team play. He jumped at the opportunity.

"He's a very natural cricketer, he's going to go out there and really express himself."

Safety concerns have prevented England from visiting after the Sri Lanka team bus was targeted by gunmen on a 2009 tour. Earlier in the year, the English arrived in England for a 7-match T20I series which they won 4-3.

England playing XI for the first Test: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Ben Stokes (c), Harry Brook, Ben Foakes, Liam Livingstone, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, Jimmy Anderson.

(With agency inputs)

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Story first published: Wednesday, November 30, 2022, 13:11 [IST]
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