Pakistan v England: Alastair Cook 'not sure' Ben Stokes will be fit

England need big runs - Cook
Second Test, Pakistan v England
Venue: Dubai Dates: 22-26 October Time: 07:00 BST/06:00 GMT
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes could miss the second Test against Pakistan on Thursday because of a stomach virus.

Stokes, 24, who hit a fifty and took four wickets in the drawn first Test, missed training on Tuesday but will take part in a net later on Wednesday.

Captain Alastair Cook said he was not sure Stokes would play, adding he "wasn't well at all" on Tuesday.

"In these conditions, it takes a lot of energy to perform at your peak," said Cook. "You've got to be careful."

Cook added that he thought Stokes "should be fine" but that they would make final decision on Thursday morning.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes scored a half-century and took four wickets in the first Test

If Stokes, who has played in England's past 11 matches, is not available, all-rounder Samit Patel could come in to give Cook a third spin option.

Patel played the last of his five Tests in 2012.

"We said at the beginning of the tour that if the wicket demands three spinners, we will play three spinners," Cook said.

"We've got that option and that wouldn't really affect the balance of the side as all three of our spinners can bat."

England prepared for Yasir test

Yasir Shah bowls
Yasir Shah has a Test bowling average of 24.81 and a strike rate of 48.1

Pakistan are expected to have leg-spinner Yasir Shah fit after he missed the first Test with a back spasm.

Yasir, 29, has taken 61 wickets in just 10 Test matches since making his debut against Australia last year and is fifth in the International Cricket Council's Test bowling rankings.external-link

"We've obviously clearly got videos and a couple of the guys have faced him in a one-day game," said Cook.

"Once a guy lets go of the ball, it doesn't come down with a name on it, you've just got to react to it and make sure that you're clear on how you play a leg-spinner.

"He is a very good bowler, but he's not this superhuman guy who takes a wicket every time he bowls."

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq believes Yasir will have a "big impact" if he plays.

"Over the last year he has been superb and he is the standout bowler for us," he said. "He creates a lot of pressure and we'll be really confident if he comes back in the side."

Suspect bowler loophole 'strange'

Bilal Asif
Bilal Asif is yet to play in a Test, but has appeared in two one-day internationals this year

Pakistan have also recalled off-spinner Bilal Asif - who was reported for a suspect bowling action against Zimbabwe earlier this month - as cover.

Asif, 30, is allowed to play pending a report on his action, which is expected to be completed in two weeks.

"I think it's a little bit strange to be honest," Cook said. "Once you've been reported, you'd hope a system is in place that is quick.

"But that's just the way it is and if that's what we have to face, that's what we have to face."

Misbah said Pakistan had no concerns over Asif's action - and he is firmly in contention for selection.

"It is not an issue for us," he said. "If he is here, we are confident enough to pick him for the Test."

Top Stories