England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have pulled out of the upcoming Pakistan tour after dramatic events that happened between PCB and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) last week. Not many expected England to visit the shores after New Zealand abandoned the entire tour minutes before the start of the first ODI citing credible threat to their players.
ECB released the statement on Monday evening stating that they have ‘reluctantly’ decided to withdraw the tour. Several former Pakistan cricketers had urged England to tour the country after PCB had travelled to the UK during the last season to literally save their summer in COVID times. But England have decided to pull out of both Men’s and Women’s tour stating ‘increasing concerns about travelling to the region.’
“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.
We are sincerely sorry, says ECB to PCB
ECB reiterated the fact that their priority is the well-being of the players and don’t want to travel Pakistan under these conditions when there is T20 World Cup slated to play soon. The board also apologised to PCB while also thanking them for touring England during the pandemic.
“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.