ECB's decision to pull out of Pakistan tour reeks of double standards: Atherton

back icon
safari
22 Sep 2021 | 03:35 PM
authorPTI

ECB's decision to pull out of Pakistan tour reeks of double standards: Atherton

The former England skipper claimed that the ECB let Pakistan down through its decision-making

Former captain Michael Atherton has said that it was strange that England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) called off the Pakistan tour citing players' welfare but allowed them a three-month window to play the IPL.

In a scathing assessment of ECB's decision, Atherton said it was worse than India's recent withdrawal from the Manchester Test.

There are questions in England cricket fraternity on how a few England players, who would have had to play the short white-ball series in Pakistan, can now play for their IPL franchises in the play-offs if required.

"Citing player welfare is strange when the ECB has essentially washed its hands of its players' travel and cricketing commitments for three months of the year so that they can play in the Indian Premier League," Atherton wrote in his column for 'The Times'.

"If, as an employer, it is so wary of bubble and cricket fatigue, surely it should take more interest in the players' availability for the IPL?," he was blunt in questioning the ECB decision.

"Now, of course, those who are playing in the tournament will be available for the knockout stages. It suits India and England, but not Pakistan, who have no direct stake, their players being barred still from the competition."

Atherton said it was difficult to understand the reasoning behind the decision.

"This decision is worse than England's withdrawal from South Africa last winter and India's cancellation of the Manchester Test this month. While both those actions were hard to justify, they were at least understandable given Covid had come into close proximity to both teams."

Atherton said he understands that the "sense of anger and betrayal in Pakistan is real and understandable," after England pulled out from their away series without any tangible reason.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) cited concerns from players rather than security issues, which was the reason for New Zealand to pull their team out of the tour after being in the country for more than a week.

Atherton in his column made it clear that both administrators and players were wrong in selling a dummy to Pakistan when they should have shown gratitude for their magnanimity last year when they toured UK in midst of a raging pandemic.

"English cricket, the governing body and players, had a chance to do the right thing this week. They had a chance to repay a debt, uphold their honour and side with a cricketing nation that has undergone challenges others cannot even begin to contemplate. Instead, citing a mealy-mouthed statement, they did the wrong thing," he wrote.

Atherton felt that Pakistan's worst fears were always going to come true as 'low expectations of England's responses were duly met" once New Zealand called off their tour.

The former England captain also said that Australia's decision to tour Pakistan won't be any different.

"Australia's reputation for doing the right thing is as bad as England's, so it would be a surprise if they front up in February. Pakistan will be facing a financial hammer blow," he further wrote.

Atherton observed that while it was completely understandable that a lot of players are suffering from bubble fatigue in COVID-19 times, the ECB could still have picked a team to tour Pakistan.

"Player welfare is an important issue, especially so with Covid, and the implication is that the wariness of travelling to Pakistan after New Zealand's withdrawal would exacerbate those concerns. The players were spooked.

"Player welfare in this regard does not wash: while many players have spent long periods in Covid-restricted environments, there are many within the English game who have not, and who could have been asked to tour if others were unavailable."

Atherton didn't want to believe that ECB couldn't find 14 willing players.

"It was incumbent upon the ECB to try to put out a team, any team, once the security arrangements were deemed satisfactory. When a Covid outbreak ruled out England's one-day squad in July, the ECB was happy to play Pakistan with a second/third team. Why not now? "

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
EnglandPakistanMichael AthertonRameez Raja

Related Articles

safari
NEWS
New Zealand strongest team across formats, feels Michael Atherton
They reached the final of the ODI World Cup in 2019, losing to England on boundary count and are the holders of the inaugural World Test Championship title
userPTI
11 Nov 2021
safari
NEWS
England players are open-minded, they would tour Pakistan: Mushtaq Ahmed
The former legspinner said that Pakistan deserved better after they toured England last year
userAFP
29 Sep 2021
safari
NEWS
PCB official confirms "no more neutral venue" for Pakistan
The official said the cancellation of the home series against New Zealand and England was a big setback for the country
usercricket.com staff
24 Sep 2021
safari
OPINION
England should have fulfilled the commitment in Pakistan: Butcher
Mark Butcher pointed out at ECB’s double-standards of pulling out of the series against Pakistan
usercricket.com staff
23 Sep 2021
safari
NEWS
Informal request from BCCI to rejig Tests but ECB might not acede - Atherton
The IPL was suspended earlier this month after multiple cases of COVID-19 inside the bio-bubble
usercricket.com staff
21 May 2021
safari
NEWS
Atherton doesn't see IPL being rescheduled
Former England skipper spoke in light of India's packed schedule till November
userPTI
05 May 2021
safari
NEWS
England confirm invitation to tour Pakistan in 2021
Fifty-over world champions England have not played in Pakistan since 2005/06
userAFP
16 Oct 2020
safari
NEWS
Broad still has fire in the belly, can claim 600 Test wickets: Atherton
Recently, Broad said he wanted to emulate compatriot James Anderson, who is still going strong at 37
userPTI
27 Jul 2020
safari
NEWS
Atherton labels Archer's protocol breach "very foolish"
Atherton said the players of both the sides involved in the series, organised amid the COVID crisis, can't afford to break rules as there is plenty of money at stake
userPTI
17 Jul 2020
safari
NEWS
It will be interesting what plans India have for Smith: Atherton
As far as Smith's batting technique is concerned, he feels that it is unique in its own way which makes the game eminently watchable
userPTI
26 Jun 2020
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved