safari staff
20 Sep 2021 | 03:58 PM

England Men's and Women's tour of Pakistan called off

The decision comes just days after New Zealand pulled out

Following New Zealand's pullout from the white-ball series in Pakistan, England too have called their tour off. England and Pakistan were to clash in a couple of T20 Internationals (T20I)on October 13 and 14 ahead of the T20 World Cup, but the tour now stands cancelled.

The women's team were also to play two T20Is and as many as three One-Day Internationals (ODI) in Pakistan, starting October 13, which will also not go ahead. "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 read.

"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," it further added.

It was further believed that touring Pakistan under these circumstances would not be ideal preparations for the T20 World Cup. However, the ECB added that touring Pakistan is on their radar in 2022. 

"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."

PCB chairman Ramiz Raja while expressing disappointment egged the Pakistan team on to become the best team in the world. 

"Disappointed with England, pulling out of their commitment & failing a member of their Cricket fraternity when it needed it most. Survive we will inshallah. A wake up call for Pak team to become the best team in the world for teams to line up to play them without making excuses," he wrote on Twitter.

New Zealand too had decided to abandon the tour just hours before the first ODI in Rawalpindi as they had received a 'security threat.' They are however hopeful of finding a window sometime next year.

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