Pakistan train for England ODIs as Babar reveals reluctance to quit tour - in pictures

Ben Stokes leads a second-string team in first match of the series that begins in Cardiff on Thursday

Pakistan seemed in good mood as they trained for the first of three ODIs against England. Babar Azam's team are on a short visit to the UK and play their opening match in Cardiff on Thursday.

Predictions for the matches were flipped on its head on Tuesday with England being forced to select an entirely new team after three players and four support staff tested positive for Covid-19.

Ben Stokes, who has been handed the captaincy, has urged his untested squad to "enjoy" their unexpected opportunity.

"Situations like these are so rare and such a fluster, I would say you have got a chance to represent your country so let's do it with a smile on our face and just enjoy it as much as we can as a group," Stokes said.

His counterpart Babar revealed his team had no intention to abandon the tour.

Babar said: “No, we didn’t think about it, it didn’t come into our minds at any time.

“The PCB [Pakistan Cricket Board] and ECB have assured us that they will take care of the safety and health of all the squad members. Of course it was disappointing news. We must understand that these are unprecedented times of Covid-19. We are focusing on cricket and the first game.”

Babar refused to underestimate England even though their squad contains nine players uncapped at the ODI level.

“We can’t take any player playing for England lightly,” said Babar, the top-ranked ODI batsman.

“They may be new players but they are playing for England. I know a few of them having played in the T20 Blast and those we don’t know we have researched their performances.”

Updated: July 8th 2021, 3:09 AM