The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) officially confirmed that they are withdrawing the England men’s and women’s cricket teams from the upcoming tour of Pakistan in October this year. This comes as a huge blow to Pakistan’s hopes of inviting big teams to the country for cricket.
This was probably affected by New Zealand’s decision to pull out of their tour of the Asian country just hours before the first ODI between the two teams was to take place in Rawalpindi. The Kiwis were in Pakistan for three ODIs in Rawalpindi and five T20Is in Lahore.
Pakistan had feared that this could impact the upcoming England and Australia tours to the country and their fears came true, as the ECB released an official statement citing their reasons for their withdrawal from the tour.
“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 ECB official statement read.
We know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region: ECB on withdrawing from Pakistan tour
Further elaborating on their decision, the ECB said that they were putting the mental and physical health of their players before anything and also admitted to having concerns about traveling to Pakistan. This was to be the men’s team’s first visit to Pakistan since 2005 and the women’s team’s first-ever sojourn in Pakistan.
“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,” the statement read.
It is understandable that this decision will be a significant disappointment to the PCB: ECB
The ECB also admitted that their decision to pull out of the tour is a huge setback to the Pakistan board who have been trying tirelessly to bring top-tier cricket back in the country after their fans and cricketers were starved of playing in home conditions.
“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 emphasize an ongoing commitment to our main touring plans there for 2022,” the statement concluded.
PCB would definitely not be happy with ECB’s decision and this will surely impact Australia’s decision-making as well as they are to visit Pakistan for the first time since 1998.