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."

England could follow New Zealand in cancelling their cricket tour to Pakistan amid new security concerns about visiting the country.

The England men's and women's teams are due to face Pakistan next month, with Eoin Morgan's side set for a two-match T20I series starting on October 13.

However, New Zealand's series against Pakistan was called off on Friday amid growing worries over player safety, and England are now assessing the situation.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement: "We're aware of New Zealand's decision to pull out of the Pakistan tour due to a security alert.

"We are liaising with our security team who are on the ground in Pakistan to fully understand the situation.

"The ECB board will then decide in the next 24-48 hours whether our planned tour should proceed."

Friday's decision by New Zealand Cricket to pull the ODI and T20I series, hours before the first match was due to be played, was met with disappointment from the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam echoed the PCB's sentiments, indicating that he trusted the security services would have ensured it took place in safe conditions.

"Extremely disappointed on the abrupt postponement of the series, which could have brought the smiles back for millions of Pakistan cricket fans," Babar wrote on Twitter.

"I've full trust in the capabilities and credibility of our security agencies. They are our pride and always will be! Pakistan Zindabad!"

New Zealand have called off their cricket tour of Pakistan amid growing security concerns, on the day when the opening match was due to take place.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) stated its disappointment after New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced the team would be returning home.

Pakistan and the Black Caps were due to meet in three ODIs and five T20Is, with the first fixture set for Friday in Rawalpindi, but the entire tour has been called off.

Neither team left their hotel on Friday morning and spectators were not allowed to enter the stadium.

A statement from NZC declared the team had decided to withdraw from the tour "following an escalation in the New Zealand government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground".

NZC chief executive David White said: "I understand this will be a blow for the PCB, who have been wonderful hosts, but player safety is paramount and we believe this is the only responsible option."

The PCB did not agree with NZC's decision, however, insisting the Pakistan government had been in contact with New Zealand's government to appease any fears over the security and safety of the travelling party.

"Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series," a PCB statement read.

"Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured New Zealand Cricket of the same. The Pakistan prime minister [Imran Khan] spoke personally to the prime minister of New Zealand [Jacinda Ardern] and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team.

"The security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan government throughout their stay here.

"PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last-minute withdrawal."

Pakistan did not host Test matches from 2009 to 2019 after a terror attack on the touring Sri Lanka team, which left six players, two staff members and an umpire wounded, and eight others – six Pakistani police officers and two civilians – dead.

Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis have resigned from their roles a little over a month before the T20 World Cup begins.

The pair were appointed in September 2019 and were under contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for another year.

However, Misbah and Waqar informed the PCB of their decision to leave on Monday ahead of the upcoming three ODIs and five T20Is against New Zealand, with the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman also on the horizon.

Saqlain Mushtaq and Abdul Razzaq have joined the Pakistan management team as interim coaches for that New Zealand series, which begins on September 17.

Misbah's decision to step down was for family reasons amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the 47-year-old having recently spent time self-isolating in Jamaica after testing positive for COVID-19.

"The quarantine in Jamaica post the West Indies series provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the past 24 months as well as the schedule for international cricket ahead," Misbah said in a statement. 

"Considering that I would have had to continue to spend considerable time away from my family and that too in a bio-secure environment, I have decided to step down from the role.

"I understand that the timing may not be ideal but I don't think I am in the right frame of mind for the upcoming challenges and it makes sense for someone fresh to step in and take the side forward.

"The past 24 months have been thoroughly enjoyable and I want to thank my team and the management for their support. 

"I wish the Pakistan cricket team best of luck in the upcoming events and will continue to support them every time they will take the field to represent Pakistan."

Waqar's decision to step down was linked to Misbah's departure. 

"After Misbah shared with me his decision and future plans, it was a straightforward one for me to resign as we had walked into the roles together, had worked collectively as a pair and now also step down together," Waqar said.

"Working with the Pakistan bowlers, including the youngsters, has been most satisfying as they have now started to show progress. 

"Bio-secure environments in the past 16 months have had their impact, something we had never experienced during our playing days.

"The next eight months will be busy and exciting for the Pakistan team and, like in the past, I will continue to back and cheer them. 

"I want to thank each and every member of the Pakistan cricket team set-up as we stayed united in good and bad days, and hope there will be brighter days ahead."

The shock double exit came two hours after Pakistan had named their squad for the T20 World Cup, as well as the warm-up internationals against New Zealand and England.

Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah were among the surprise inclusions in the 15-man selection.

 

Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Asif Ali, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Azam Khan, Shadab Khan, Sohaib Maqsood, Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Rizwan, Khushdil Shah, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Wasim.

Misbah-ul-Haq will remain in the Caribbean when the Pakistan squad fly home on Wednesday after the head coach tested positive for coronavirus.

The former Pakistan batsman must quarantine for 10 days after he was the only member of the touring party to return a positive PCR test.

Misbah had been due to head home a day after Pakistan salvaged a 1-1 Test series draw with West Indies, winning by 109 runs at Sabina Park.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) statement said: "Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has tested positive and, as such, will not depart for Lahore with his side later today (Wednesday).

"Misbah, who is asymptomatic, will now undergo a 10-day quarantine, following which he will depart for Pakistan.

"Misbah was the only Pakistan squad member who failed two pre-departure PCR tests. All other members will leave Jamaica as per schedule later today.

"The PCB is constantly in touch with Cricket West Indies who have confirmed that Misbah will be shifted to another hotel for the 10-day quarantine with a medical specialist assigned to look after his health and wellbeing."

Pakistan's next assignment is a home ODI series against New Zealand next month.

Pakistan levelled their Test series against the West Indies as a Shaheen Afridi masterclass led them to a 109-run victory in Kingston on Tuesday.

Shaheen's career-best bowling figures of 6-51 helped put the balance firmly in Pakistan's favour heading into the final day, and he was on point again with another four wickets to round off the triumph.

The Windies needed 280 runs at the start of the day's play, with nine wickets remaining, but after meeting initial resistance, Shaheen struck to get the ball rolling.

He finished with figures of 4-43 for the innings, taking his match haul to 10 wickets.

Alzarri Joseph (17) was the first Windies batsman to fall, with Nkrumah Bonner and Roston Chase swiftly following suit, both to Hasan Ali (2-37).

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who scored 39 from 147 deliveries (and 250 minutes at the crease), was dismissed early in the afternoon session, leaving Pakistan on the verge of victory before tea, yet the Windies fought back again, with a rain delay then threatening to halt their procession.

Thankfully for the tourists, the inclement weather did not hold, and when they returned for the final session, it was Shaheen who offered the inspiration, drawing an edge from the impressive Kyle Mayers (32), with Jason Holder's subsequent dismissal on 47 leaving the Windies with little chance.

Shaheen finished things off, sending Kemar Roach and Joshua Da Silva packing in the space of two overs to ensure the series ended on level terms.

West Indies' wait goes on

In 2005, 2011 and now 2021, the Windies have taken the lead in a two-match home Test series against Pakistan, only for the tourists to hit them back on each occasion.

The Windies have now not beaten Pakistan in a Test series – home or away – since 2000.

Career-best bowling figures from Shaheen Afridi and brilliance from Mohammad Abbas put Pakistan in a strong position in the second Test against West Indies.

Shaheen's 6-51 helped the tourists to skittle their hosts for 150 after having declared at 302-9 in their first innings.

Pakistan followed up with 176-6 declared to seize control of the match, the Windies needing 280 on day five to avoid defeat.

Pakistan set up a strong day four when they tore through West Indies' middle order, taking four wickets for the loss of just 11 runs in Kingston on Monday.

Shaheen accounted for Kieran Powell (5) and Kraigg Brathwaite (4) early doors, with Roston Chase (10) and Alzarri Joseph (4) mustering just 14 between them.

Jermaine Blackwood's 33 steadied the ship until Abbas was unleashed, Nkrumah Bonner (37) and Kyle Mayers (0) falling to successive deliveries before Blackwood and Joshua Da Silva (6) followed.

With their opponents all out for 150, Pakistan built a strong second innings as Imran Butt (37) and Babar Azam (33) led the way before they declared at 176-6.

Powell and Brathwaite's stand of 34 got the West Indies' chase off to a promising start, but the former was run out after a somewhat lethargic attempt to get his bat down as they chased a third off an extra cover drive.

Still, after reaching 49 at stumps, the final day promises to be a riveting affair.

West Indies undone in torrid 10 minutes

A 60-run fifth-wicket partnership between Blackwood and Bonner kept Pakistan frustrated until Shaheen and Abbas produced some sensational bowling.

Their efforts mean Babar's men still have a chance of levelling the series.

 

Fawad Alam dragged Pakistan past 300 with his fifth Test century before their bowlers made early inroads against West Indies on the third day of the Second Test in Kingston.

There was no play on the second day of the second Test between West Indies and Pakistan, with the weather frustrating the sides after Friday's gripping action.

Repeated inspections of a wet outfield did not yield suitable conditions, as rain continued to fall throughout Saturday.

It meant Pakistan remained on 212-4, as they were at stumps the previous day having staged a recovery from a rocky start.

West Indies had the tourists on the ropes in Kingston when they were put in to bat and remarkably reduced to 2-3.

Yet a huge partnership between Fawad Alam and Babar Azam lasted for 298 balls and 158 runs and was only ended when the former retired hurt with cramps.

That stand brought Pakistan firmly back into contention, and they would have hoped to set a big total on day two, only for the rain to intervene.

West Indies won the first match of the two-Test series.

Half-centuries from Babar Azam and Fawad Alam wrested the early initiative from the West Indies and put Pakistan in a position of strength at the end of the first day of the second Betway Test at Sabina Park on Friday.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has hailed the contribution of allrounder and former captain Jason Holder as the team looks to secure its first Test series win over Pakistan in almost two decades.

Holder crafted a crucial second-innings knock of 58 and took 4 wickets as the team held on for a nail-biting one-wicket win to take the lead.

However, the top allrounder has also gained plenty of attention for his actions off the field, particularly for the mentorship shown to young fast-bowler Jayden Seales.  Seales was one of the highlights of the first match for the Windies after claiming an impressive five-wicket second innings haul.

“Obviously, Jason is the number one all-rounder in the world.  He is very crucial, and he has done a fantastic job, obviously with Jayden.  I see them having a lot of chats,” Brathwaite told members of the media via an online press conference on Thursday.

“All the guys are doing a good job, they all came together but obviously Jason is the number one all-rounder in the world so obviously he brings a lot of value.”

Brathwaite replaced Holder as captain of the team in February, following a successful tour of Bangladesh, the team has since drawn with Sri Lanka and lost to South Africa.

Despite a poor run of form with the bat struggling batsmen Kyle Mayers and Nkrumah Bonner are full of confidence and are raring to go ahead of Friday’s second Test against Pakistan at Sabina Park in Kingston.

While defending his aggressive approach to batting, West Indies vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood believes the team’s batsmen need to spend more time at the crease if they are to win the second Test against Pakistan set to bowl off at Sabina Park in Kingston on Friday.

Talented up and coming West Indies fast bowler Jayden Seales has vowed to continue focusing on development as he does not believe himself to be the finished product.

Seales played a leading role in the team’s one wicket over Pakistan earlier this week, in the process of securing his first-ever five-wicket haul.  In the process, he also made history by becoming the youngest West Indies bowler to achieve the feat at 19 years and 336 days.

With many already predicting a big future for the young player, however,  Seales himself believes it is important to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground.  Over the last few years, several young fast bowlers have threatened to make the breakthrough for the Caribbean team but have seen their development stalled at various points.

“It’s just for me to stay in the moment.  I will ride the fame and everything, but for me, it’s about continuing to work on my game.  I’m not where I want it to be.  I’m not the finished product.  I know I can be better,” Seales told members of the media on Tuesday.

“It’s just for me to work on my game a little more, build on the things I want to improve on, build from there and eventually become better.”

In three matches so far Seales has claimed a total of 13 wickets.

The second match of the two-Test series will begin on Friday at Jamaica’s Sabina Park.

 

Fierce rivals India and Pakistan will meet in their first game of the T20 World Cup on October 24.

The schedule for the tournament in the United Arab Emirates and Oman was confirmed on Tuesday, with the final taking place in Dubai on November 14.

Pakistan and India will do battle in their opening Super12 Group 2 match at 6 pm local time.

New Zealand will get their bid for glory underway against Pakistan in Sharjah two days later, while Afghanistan begin their campaign on 25 October against a qualifier

Holders West Indies play England in a repeat of the dramatic 2016 final in debut on October 23, the same day as Group 1 rivals Australia face South Africa in Abu Dhabi.

The opening game of the competition will see co-hosts Oman come up against Papua New Guinea in Group B on October 17, with Scotland and Bangladesh in action on the same day.

The first semi-final will take place in Abu Dhabi on November 10 and the second will be staged in Dubai the following day.

 

 

West Indies T20 World Cup schedule 

23 October

 England  vs   West Indies

 Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

 

 26 October

South Africa  vs  West Indies


 Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

 

29 October

West Indies  vs  B2

Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah

 

4 November
  West Indies   A1

Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

 

 6 November

Australia  vs  West Indies

Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
  

 

  

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