The England Men’s Test squad has arrived in Islamabad ahead of the country’s first Test series in 17 years.
Ben Stokes and 15 of his teammates landed in Pakistan on Saturday and were warmly welcomed by local officials ahead of the three-match series, which begins on December 1 in Rawalpindi.
While England played a seven-match T20I series in Pakistan before to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, this three-match Test series will be the first between the two sides in Pakistan since 2005.
The series is part of the ongoing World Test Championship, and Pakistan is vying for a position in the final at The Oval next year.
Babar Azam’s team is now sixth in the World Test Championship standings, with home series against England and New Zealand enhancing their chances of finishing in the top two and qualifying for next year’s decider.
England is out of contention for a spot in the final after a disastrous Ashes series in Australia at the end of last year and a middling series against the West Indies in March left them with too much work to do to stay in contention.
They have recently recovered to some of their finest form, with series victory against New Zealand and South Africa ushering in a new era under Kiwi coach Brendon McCullum.
Mark Wood’s fitness is being monitored closely by England, as the pace spearhead is still recovering from a hip injury that forced him to miss the T20 World Cup final against Pakistan in Melbourne.
Stokes’ first visit to Pakistan will be during this trip, something he is looking forward to.
I’m definitely looking forward to the trip, Stokes said of the journey.
We understand how important cricket is to the people of the subcontinent, and we’re delighted to travel over there.