England is in disarray as they get ready for their first Test match against Pakistan in Rawalpindi after 13 to 14 staff members, including half of the 16-man playing squad, fell ill on Wednesday. England announced their starting XI one day before the match’s scheduled to start (December 1), but the vast majority of the players are currently unwell with a viral infection. There were only five England players present for the Wednesday training session at the Pindi Cricket Stadium: Joe Root, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Keaton Jennings, and Ollie Pope.

Ben Stokes, the team’s captain, and the rest of the group stayed at the hotel.

Root, who was also present, was asked if he could lead the team if Stokes is unable to recover in time for the test match. Root responded, “In my opinion, no. Ollie Pope performed admirably during the warm-up and will keep doing so.

This year, Joe Root, England’s Test captain, resigned after admitting that the position harmed him.

In a statement announcing his resignation in April, Root stated: “I’ve enjoyed leading my nation, but recently I’ve realized how much of a toll it’s taken on me and how it affects me outside of sports.

“It has been the most difficult decision I have had to make in my career,” the 31-year-old Root had added. “But after discussing this with my family and those closest to me, I know the timing is right.”

This will be England’s first Test tour of Pakistan in 17 years. Before the T20 World Cup, the team had previously visited Pakistan for a seven-match T20I series. In the championship match, England also faced Pakistan and won by five wickets.