England should have fulfilled the commitment in Pakistan: Butcher

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23 Sep 2021 | 11:15 AM
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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

Immediately after New Zealand’s decision to pull out of their series in Pakistan, tension was around the air as to whether England would follow suit. While Pakistan touring England last year certainly helped the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) financially, there was expectations that the Three Lions would repay the favour.

However, on Monday (September 20), the ECB in a statement insisted that they reluctantly withdrew both the teams from the October tour to Pakistan. While the major reason behind New Zealand’s move out of the country was on the back of security issues, ECB clearly insisted that their decision stemmed down from the mental and physical well-being of their players.

Since the statement came out in the public, several former English cricketers have not taken the decision to their liking, hitting out at the board for taking such a hasty decision. Mark Butcher, in an exclusive conversation with Cricket.com, stated that the Three Lions should have put out a team to play in Pakistan, even if it wasn’t the best squad available. 

“England should have been able to find 15 players and fulfill the engagement. Everyone is put in a difficult situation. Pakistan of course, helped out ECB touring England when COVID was at its peak. The feeling here in UK is that England should have fulfilled that commitment. It was astonishing that ECB had put out that playing in Pakistan wasn’t an ideal preparation for World T20. If that isn’t the best preparation for the world event in the Middle East, then I don’t really know what is,” Mark Butcher told Cricket.com.

The former English batsman reckoned that the decision was inevitable after New Zealand’s series was called off. However, the 49-year-old was far away from being pleased with the board’s statement and hit out stating that the team was bound to be in the Asian country for four days. 

“It was reasonably inevitable, especially after New Zealand called off their tour that England would follow suit. The intriguing part is the reasons that the ECB provided, they weren’t able to state securities reason because there was no extra security threat for ECB. In the statement, ECB stated that players fatigue and mental health that was looked after. The men’s team were only due to be there for four days, it was much as a thank for you for Pakistan rescuing England’s summer last year.”

ECB should have been more responsible

The Surrey batter also took Pakistan’s side in this discussion and clearly insisted that the reasons provided by the English board were not up for the taking, especially after how Pakistan had saved England’s summer last year. 

“It is very tough to take, I’m on Pakistan’s side in this topic. If there is information that is out there hidden, I think it should be released in order for everyone to figure it out. I don’t see good enough reasons why we can’t send any team to Pakistan to play a two-match series,” Butcher added.

“The whole thing stinks because you pick and choose the tours that you want to play. The bigger teams have a responsible towards the rest in keeping the sport up and the big teams are not fulfilling their responsibilities. On the other hand, the bigger teams (ECB) expect sides like West Indies and Pakistan to come and rescue their summer.”

However, when asked about India’s decision to abandon their trip to England, Butcher was clear that it shouldn’t be levied down to the IPL but instead to the situation in the dressing room. The former English cricketer insisted that Indian players really don’t need the money from the IPL to survive. Yet at the same time, the southpaw stated that the lack of transparency will cost Pakistan. 

“I don’t know about the IPL’s impact on the corresponding events in world cricket. As far as the players are concerned, the Indian players don’t really need to play in the IPL for the money. I think they would have bailed out of England because they were sick and tired of the events surrounding COVID-19. Yes, the IPL being close might have been a factor but don’t think it was determining factor.”

“New Zealand had a reason of leaving Pakistan but once they were gone, Pakistan knew that the corresponding fixtures would be under the scanner. We will have to wait and see if Australia tour Pakistan later this year. You need to be transparent about the things, otherwise people would whisper that people don’t like to tour places like Pakistan and therefore, they would bail out at the first instance.”

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