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Sunday April 21, 2024

Fate of Pindi Test hangs in the balance

By Our Correspondent
December 01, 2022

RAWALPINDI: The fate of the opening day’s play of the first Test between Pakistan and England is still hanging in balance as the tourists are awaiting fitness of their key players before deciding on the start of the match.

Around eight English cricketers and six team officials contracted an undeclared virus that confined the team to hotel on Wednesday.

Key spinner Jack Leach (already suffering with Crohn disease) and team captain Ben Stokes are also among the players who were affected by viral infection.

It is believed that the team contracted the bug from the British High Commission where they were given a reception on Monday evening.

Following the unexpected development, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) requested the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to delay the start of the first Test till Friday.

The two boards on Wednesday discussed the outbreak of viral infection in the England men’s Test team camp and agreed to delay the decision on the commencement of the match until 0730 Pakistan time on Thursday (today), the PCB said in a statement.

The two boards also agreed that if the England players did not recover well enough to take the field on Thursday morning, then the Test would commence on Friday (tomorrow) and would be a five-day match. In that scenario, the schedule of the second Test in Multan and the third Test in Karachi would remain unaffected.

'How to handle England', Babar consults Yousuf

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam Wednesday sought guidance from batting coach Mohammad Yousaf as to how to pin down high-flying England in the three-match series starting with the opening Test here at the Pindi Stadium.

To a question from ‘The News’ during media interaction, Babar said Yousaf was outstanding during the 2005-06 series against England. Yousaf’s exciting 223 during the last Test in Lahore during the 2005 series turned out to be a deciding factor, which Pakistan won by an innings.

“Definitely we have a batting legend in the team management who knows well how to play against current English bowlers. We would definitely want to take a leaf out of his book when it comes to facing and scoring against English bowlers. His achievement for Pakistan especially in that particular series is something worth remembering,” Babar said.

He lauded Yousaf as being one of the best batsmen Pakistan produced.

“We are lucky to have him on our side. Every batsman playing in the series will take full advantage of his presence in the dressing room.”

Babar hoped to play against the entire England side. “We pray for English cricketers’ early recovery so that they can field their best XI in the first Test.”