Days after the New Zealand cricket team abandoned their series against Pakistan due citing security reasons, England too have decided to cancel their upcoming tour of the country.
In a statement, the England and Wales Cricket Board said, “The ECB has a longstanding commitment to tour Pakistan as part of the Men’s Future Tours Programme in 2022. Earlier this year, we agreed to play two additional T20 World Cup warm-up games in Pakistan in October, adding a short women’s tour with double headers alongside the men’s games.
“The ECB Board convened this weekend to discuss these extra England Women’s and Men’s games in Pakistan and we can confirm that the Board has reluctantly decided to withdraw both teams from the October trip.”
The ECB said that the ‘mental and physical well-being of our players and support staff remains our highest priority and this is even more critical given the times we are currently living in.’ “We know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region and believe that going ahead will add further pressure to a playing group who have already coped with a long period of operating in restricted Covid environments,” it added.
The ECB said that touring Pakistan just before the T20 World Cup ‘will not be ideal preparation for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, where performing well remains a top priority for 2021.’
It said, “We understand that this decision will be a significant disappointment to the PCB, who have worked tirelessly to host the return of international cricket in their country. Their support of English and Welsh cricket over the last two summers has been a huge demonstration of friendship. We are sincerely sorry for the impact this will have on cricket in Pakistan and emphasise an ongoing commitment to our main touring plans there for 2022.”
Last week, in a dramatic development, the New Zealand cricket team had decided to abandon their tour of Pakistan hours before the start of their first One Day International in Rawalpindi. According to the New Zealand cricket board, the tour was abruptly abandoned following a New Zealand government security alert.