Ian Watmore, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman, has apologised to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the cancellation of England men’s and women’s tour of Pakistan, which was scheduled for October.
Earlier in the month, ECB decided to pull out of their tours just days after New Zealand had shockingly abandoned their entire tour of Pakistan minutes before the first ODI was to be played, citing security concerns.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Watmore said it was an “extremely difficult” decision to make. He acknowledged that the security threat was a factor but insisted that the main reason was the player welfare.
“I’m very sorry to anyone who feels hurt or let down by our decision, particularly in Pakistan. The decision the board made was an extremely difficult one,” Watmore said.
“I won’t go into details, but we received advice on security and player welfare and took the decision we made. We had to make it quickly because of the short term to the World Cup and the New Zealand exodus from Pakistan. They were all factors, but the primary consideration was the welfare of the players.”
We will do everything we can to deliver the scheduled tour next year to Pakistan: Ian Watmore
England are scheduled to tour Pakistan for three Tests and five ODIs in November-December 2022. Ian Watmore further assured that the ECB will “will do everything” to make sure that the tour goes on as planned.
He also asserted that the ECB will have to rebuild its relationship after the tour cancellation. He thanked the Pakistan cricket team for touring England last year amidst the peak covid-19 situation.
“We need to rebuild our relationship with Pakistan and will refocus on going there in 2022. This wasn’t the right time. Obviously we’re extremely grateful to Pakistan coming here last year and we will do everything we can to deliver the scheduled tour next year,” Watmore added.
The October tour would have been England’s men’s first to Pakistan since 2005-06 and the first by the England women’s team. The men were scheduled to play two T20Is ahead of the T20 World Cup, both double-headers with the women, while the women were also due to stay on for a three-match ODI series.