Ben Stokes-led England Test team arrives in Islamabad ahead of Test series against Pakistan

The Ben Stokes-led England Test team touched down in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, in the early hours of Sunday, ahead of playing a three-match Test series against the Babar Azam-led side.

England Cricket shared a video of team arrival at Islamabad airport on their various social media handles. “Touchdown in Pakistan for our Men’s Test squad,” read the caption. England’s Test squad had spent time in Abu Dhabi as part of the preparation for the series against Pakistan.

England will be playing a Test series on Pakistani soil after a gap of 17 years. They last played a Test match in Pakistan in 2005, losing the three-match series by 2-0. The visitors’ had played a seven-match T20I series here in September-October, which they won 4-3.

England were scheduled to visit Pakistan last year, but pulled out shortly after New Zealand abandoned their tour just before the first ODI in Rawalpindi could begin, citing security reasons.

There was a scare of the first Test being shifted from Rawalpindi, following an assassination attempt on former Prime Minister and 1992 World Cup winning captain Imran Khan earlier this month.

The three Tests between Pakistan and England are part of the ICC World Test Championship’s second cycle and are scheduled to be played in Rawalpindi (December 1-5), Multan (December 9-13) and Karachi (December 17-21).

The upcoming Tests against England is Pakistan’s fifth series in the current WTC cycle – their last series will be the two Tests against New Zealand at home in December 2022 and January 2023.

These three Tests will be England’s final appearance in the second edition of the World Test Championship, where they are ranked seventh as compared to Pakistan’s fifth position in the table.

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