The issues encountered were far from drastic: no-one was ill for an extended period of time, and England went on to win 4-3 in an exciting series. However, given the demands of a Test match, not least the back-to-back nature of the three-match series across 21 days in three different locations (Rawalpindi, Multan and Karachi), having someone to oversee food preparation and tailor menus according to specific requirements and tastes throughout felt a necessary controllable to control. Indeed one of Cricket Australia’s few regrets from their successful tour of Pakistan earlier this year was not taking a chef with them.
ESPNcricinfo understands Omar Meziane, who worked with the England men’s football team in a similar role during the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020, will assume the role.
On a tour of New Zealand in November 2019, Leach was struck down so severely by food poisoning he ended up being hospitalised and contracted sepsis. Though he was able to make it onto the subsequent Test tour to South Africa, the effects of the previous illness meant he was unable to play any part in proceedings and ended up leaving the tour early.
Though this is perhaps the first time the ECB has specifically employed a chef for a tour, they have previous when it comes to food away from home. Ahead of their disastrous 2013-14 Ashes, the Sydney Morning Herald got hold of a dossier entitled “Test catering requirements” which was distributed to all hosting venues.
The 82 pages contained 194 recipes ranging from “Moroccan spiced griddled chicken fillets with lime and coriander mayo” to protein-based “banana and peanut bars”, and was described by the Herald as “modern pretentious”. It did England no favours in a crushing 5-0 whitewash.
Expect pasta dishes to be a prominent part of the Pakistan menus.