Days after New Zealand cited security concerns and called off their white-ball tour of Pakistan minutes before its start in Rawalpindi, England Cricket Board (ECB) also decided against sending their men and women's cricket team to the country. The men's team was scheduled to play two T20Is.
England Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed the cancellation of their teams white-ball tour of Pakistan. The decision comes after New Zealand called off their white-ball tour in the subcontinent nation citing security concerns.
The future of the series was in doubt ever since New Zealand backed out from their ODI and T20I series in Pakistan despite arriving in the country and spending good 6 days before the start of the first ODI in Rawalpindi. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) had got an "authentic" tip off from their government about a security threat against the vistors. Following the advisory, New Zealand team did not leave the team hotel and later the entire tour was called off. The players had flown out of the country in a chartered flight.
"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," an ECB statement said on Monday, September 20.
Mental and physical well-being of players most important: ECB
ECB has always prioritised the mental well-being of their players, especially since the bio-bubble became the new normal post Covid-19 pandemic. The board this time highlighted about the "physical well-being" of the players and also expressed their concern over "travelling to the region". Notably, Taliban recently took over Afghanistan, which shares border with 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.
"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 further read.
It was inevitable that England would pull out of Pakistan .. Completely understandable in light of the security issues .. but I am surprised it couldn’t have been played in the UAE !! .. let’s hope things can change & teams can tour Pakistan shortly .. !— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) September 20, 2021
The historic trip, which would have been the first ever for England women's team and the first by their male counterparts since 2005. The men and women's team were slated to simultaneously play two T20Is each on October 13 and 14. Also, England Women and Pakistan Women were scheduled to lock horns in a 3 ODIs on October 17, 19 and 21.