After New Zealand’s eleventh-hour refusal to play in Pakistan, England Cricket Board (ECB) has pulled out of the October Pakistan tour citing concerns about “the mental and physical well-being of our players and support staff.”
The ECB announced the cancellation of the tour in a statement it issued on its website. The board said it was also withdrawing from women matches.
The decision was made “reluctantly,” it said.
Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Ramiz Raja has expressed disappointment over the move.
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.
— Ramiz Raja (@iramizraja) September 20, 2021
Raja tells Pakistan to become best team
Raja lamented the failure of the cricket “fraternity” to deliver on its commitments. He also called on the Pakistan cricket team to become the best team so that teams “line up to play them without making excuses.”
Chairman PCB’s last comment seems to connect England’s decision with the performance level of the Pakistan cricket team. However, the announcement from London has more to do with the failure of diplomacy.
The English officials say no one was ready to visit the region.
“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,” the ECB said.
The ECB also cited ICC Men’s T20 as another reason to cancel the tour.
“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,” the statement said.
‘We are sincerely sorry’
Before Pakistan could remind England of the support they have extended to the English team in the past, the poms – as the Aussies would call them – were quick to add that they had done whatever they could to support the return of cricket in Pakistan.
“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,” the statement reads.