The England cricket team has been dealt a major blow on the eve of the first test match against Pakistan in Rawalpindi with almost half of the playing squad having come down with an illness.

Due to contradictory reports, it is yet unclear whether the players are suffering from a suspected case of food poisoning or some other viral bug. However, Covid has been ruled out as the cause to provide some respite to the players and the team.

England was particularly careful about the food when returning to Pakistan, even hiring a private chef to avoid this scenario.

Captain Ben Stokes is one of the players in the England team to have contracted the illness as well. With most of the players out of commission England may have to make several changes to the announced playing XI.

But there is major hope that all the players will be able to recover within 24 hours to take the field for the first day of the match.

Due to the bug, England had made today’s morning practice session optional with only Joe Root, who is said to have recovered from an illness himself, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope and Harry Brook of the players named in the starting XI taking part in a session with Keaton Jennings there as well.

The trophy unveiling for the three-match series was also delayed as a result.

Pakistan Cricket Board and England and Wales Cricket Board are also discussing the possibility of moving the date of the first match as a result.