Illness sweeps through England camp ahead of first Pakistan Test

England’s preparations for their first Test match in Pakistan have been dealt a serious blow with around half the squad affected by an illness.

Approximately 13 to 14 members of the touring party are affected by the illness, with around half of that number members of the playing squad.

Ben Stokes is among those affected, and it is believed to be a bug or virus rather than Covid.

England v South Africa – LV= Insurance Test Series – Third Test – Day Five – Kia Oval
Stokes had already named his his nominal starting XI for the match (John Walton/PA)

England have made their their final training session ahead of the Test match on Wednesday morning optional.

Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope and Joe Root reported for the practice session at the stadium in Rawalpindi – taken by head coach Brendon McCullum – with the rest remaining at their Islamabad base.

Stokes had named his nominal starting XI for the match, including handing a debut to Liam Livingstone and a first Test recall since 2016 for Ben Duckett, but his plans could be forced to change due to the illness.