Rawalpindi: On the eve of the first Test against Pakistan, half of England’s 16-man squad has fallen ill.
According to ESPNcricinfo, the cause of the illness is believed to be a virus or a bug. England is being extra careful with its diet. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, some players were instructed to stay in their rooms after feeling unwell on Tuesday.
James Anderson and England captain Ben Stokes are believed to be two of those affected. Jack Leach is showing symptoms but is reportedly in good health. Joe Root was able to return to training on Wednesday despite experiencing symptoms on Tuesday.
An ECB spokesperson confirmed that the ailments were not related to Covid-19, as reported by ESPNcricinfo. There is a possibility that the virus will go away in a day but with the first match of the three-match series starting in Rawalpindi on Thursday, England’s chances of a good start have shrunk considerably.
Only Root, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Harry Brook and Keaton Jennings took part in Wednesday’s training session. Other players listed in the starting XI were absent.
The virus happened in Serena Hotel in Islamabad, where both England and Pakistan teams are staying. This is not the first time England have been ill at the start of a tour. A similar bug affected the team before and during the Boxing Day Test in Pretoria on the 2019–20 South African tour.