UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly been upset about the England Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) decision to not send its men’s and women’s teams to Pakistan.
England pulled out of their men’s and women’s tours to the Asian country in October. The ECB, though, attributed their decision to “the mental and physical well-being of players and support staff”; the statement also mentioned that there were “increasing concerns about travelling to the region”.
Now, a report in The Times from September 24 quoted the British PM and senior Commonwealth Ministers as saying that the ECB pulling out of their commitment to Pakistan has “damaged the relations” between the governments of the two nations.
“There were consultations between the ECB and officials from No 10, the Foreign Office and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport before announcing the cancellation of the tour in which the governing body was urged to go ahead as planned,” The Times reported.
“The subsequent decision to ignore those pleas and cancel the tour on the grounds of the physical and mental wellbeing of the players has enraged ministers. They believe it has damaged the work being done to improve relations between the UK and Pakistan at a time when they are particularly important.”
Decision made by the ECB independent of the British government: British HC to Pakistan
Christian Turner, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, said that the ECB’s decision not to tour Pakistan was made independent of the country’s government and that the High Commission had indeed given a green light to the tour.
“This was a decision made by the ECB, which is independent of the British government based on concerns for player welfare. The British High Commission supported the tour, did not advise against in on security grounds, and our travel advice for Pakistan has not changed. I have been a champion of international cricket’s return to Pakistan and will redouble my efforts in advance of England’s autumn 2022 tour. My thanks to all at the PCB who have worked so hard in support of that.”