Days after New Zealand's withdrawal from the Pakistan series due to security concerns, England Cricket Board (ECB) have also called off their upcoming tour of the country. But this doesn’t come as a surprise as both New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and ECB use the same security agencies and the tour getting cancelled was inevitable. ECB released a statement saying that several of their players are reluctant to visit Pakistan.
“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 statement from the ECB read.
ECB said that safety of the players remains the priority for the board. Pakistan had travelled to the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to save their summer. Admitting that Pakistan have been a great support to England cricket, ECB said they will work towards organising the series in 2022.
“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.
“There is the added complexity for our Men’s T20 squad. We believe that touring under these conditions will not be ideal preparation for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, where performing well remains a top priority for 2021.
“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,” the statement added.