England withdraw from Pakistan tours

By Sports Desk September 20, 2021

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed the men's and women's teams will not travel to Pakistan for scheduled tours in October. 

England had been due to play two warm-up matches ahead of the men's T20 World Cup, with the women's team also set to play a double-header in the shortest format, followed by three one-day fixtures. 

However, following New Zealand's decision to withdraw from a white-ball series in Pakistan due to security concerns, the ECB has announced the upcoming tours will not now take place as planned. 

A statement released on Monday explained that "the mental and physical well-being of our players and support staff" remained the governing body's highest priority. 

The statement read: "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. 

"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." 

Pakistan did not host international cricket for six years following the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009. 

Friday's decision by New Zealand Cricket to pull out of the ODI and T20I series just hours before the start of the opening match was met with disappointment from the Pakistan Cricket Board. 

PCB chairman Ramiz Raja used social media to convey his sorrow at England "failing a member of their cricket fraternity when it needed it most" following the latest development in the situation.

"Disappointed with England, pulling out of their commitment and failing a member of their cricket fraternity when it needed it most," he posted on Twitter.  

"Survive we will inshallah. A wake-up call for Pakistan team to become the best team in the world for teams to line up to play them without making excuses."

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