England cricket chiefs on Monday cancelled upcoming women’s and men’s tours of Pakistan days after New Zealand abandoned their series over security concerns.
The men’s side was due to play two T20 Internationals on October 13 and 14, with the women playing three One-Day Internationals on October 17, 19 and 21.
All the matches were set to take place in Rawalpindi.
Statement from ECB:
“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 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.”
In response, Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ramiz Raja tweeted that he was “disappointed with England”.
“Disappointed with England, pulling out of their commitment & failing a member of their Cricket fraternity when it needed it most,” wrote Ramiz on Twitter.
“Survive we will inshallah. A wake up call for Pak team to become the best team in the world for teams to line up to play them without making excuses.”
Inputs from AFP