Pramod Ananth
15 Sep 2022 | 04:07 PM

'We're delighted to be here,' Jos Buttler after arriving in Pakistan

With the team flanked by security personnel throughout, the England captain says that it is visually a lot to take but the focus will completely be on cricket after a couple of days

England have made it to Pakistan for the first time since 2005. They will play as many as seven T20 Internationals (T20I) there. The first four will be played in Karachi and then the action will shift to Lahore.

Only a handful of England players have ever played cricket in Pakistan thanks to the Pakistan Super League (PSL). England have been granted VVIP status for their entire tour, meaning that they would be flanked by security personnel while travelling and the streets would be cordoned off while they are travelling within the country.

England captain Jos Buttler says that it is visually a lot to take in but they will take a couple of days to get used to it and the focus will completely be on cricket after that.

"That's the initial challenge as players, just visually, it being very different. After a day or two you get used to that, focus on the cricket and look forward to playing," Buttler, who will miss the initial stages of the series due to a calf injury, said.

Buttler also stressed that it felt great to be back in Pakistan after such a long time. "It's great to be back as an England cricket team after a long time," he said. 

"We're delighted to be here." 

The tour will finally go ahead after England refused to tour the country last October following New Zealand's decision to back out at the last minute.

Buttler has also pledged what's believed to be five-figure pound-sterling sum to the Disasters Emergency Committee, from the players, which would then be matched by the ECB for those affected by the floods recently in the country.

He compared the current situation to the curtailed season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 due to the rapid rise in Covid cases and deaths, wherein he felt as a sportsperson, they were happy to give people watching a little joy by performing for them every night.

"I played in that IPL… whether it was right or wrong, the narrative was the pleasure it was giving to people, and it being a bit of an escape, watching an IPL game every night. Sport can do that," the England white-ball skipper said.

"Sport has a great power to unite people: it has a great power to give a distraction at times of need; it has a great way of bringing people together to show respect. As human beings, we're all just as conscious of what's going on around the world as anyone else. Just because we play cricket, that doesn't mean we don't watch the news.

"We know the tough times that the people of Pakistan are facing at the moment. We hope that our being here can shed light on that, and people can see that people need help. Hopefully, some exciting games of cricket will be a small tonic to raise some spirits as well."

Pakistan go into the series at the back of the Asia Cup final loss at the hands of Sri Lanka in Dubai a few days ago.

The seven-match T20I series between Pakistan and England kickstarts on Sunday (October 20) at the National Stadium, Karachi. The England Test side will then visit Pakistan in December to play three Tests in December.

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