England’s men’s and women’s team has been withdrawn from the Pakistan white-ball tour due to security concerns. The decision is likely to be met with criticism by supporters of the sport in both countries, especially considering that the tour was scheduled to begin on September 3rd.
Pakistan’s men played three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals in England earlier this year.
England’s men’s and women’s teams have withdrew from a series against Pakistan scheduled for October.
The men were going to Pakistan for the first time since 2005, while the ladies had never played there before.
Because of a “particular and serious threat,” New Zealand’s men canceled their tour to Pakistan on Friday.
“We realize there are growing worries about traveling to the area,” the England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement.
“We think that proceeding will put additional strain to a playing group that has already dealt with a lengthy time of working in limited Covid settings,” the statement said.
England’s men were utilizing the trip to Pakistan as part of their preparations for the T20 World Cup, with matches in Rawalpindi on the 13th and 14th of October that were also double-headers with the women. Heather Knight’s squad was scheduled to play three one-day internationals on October 17, 19, and 21.
“There is the additional complication for our men’s T20 team,” the ECB statement said. “We think that traveling in these circumstances will not be a suitable preparation for the T20 World Cup in 2021, when winning is still a major goal.” We realize that the Pakistan Cricket Board will be disappointed by this decision, since they have worked hard to bring international cricket back to their country.”
Following a gun assault on the Sri Lankan squad in 2009, no international cricket was played in Pakistan for six years, with Pakistan’s home matches being held in the United Arab Emirates.
In 2015, touring teams started to return, and in 2019, Pakistan staged its first home men’s Test in 12 years when Sri Lanka visited.
Players from England have competed in Pakistan Super League games, and the South African men’s squad visited earlier this year.
The West Indies and the Netherlands are the only non-Asian women’s teams Pakistan has ever hosted. In the later half of 2019, they played Bangladesh at home for the last time.
“It’s ridiculous,” Pakistan Cricket Board head Ramiz Raja told World Service. We’ve gone out of our way to make foreign teams feel welcome.
“I, as well as the supporters, am very dissatisfied.” We needed England just now.
“We have a tiny cricket fraternity here. We had hoped that England would be a little more responsible. We’re hurting, but we’ll keep moving ahead.”
In the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, Pakistan visited England in both 2020 and 2021. Pakistan accepted to stringent bio-security requirements in order to play in the UK in 2020.
New Zealand’s men were in Pakistan for the first time in 18 years, playing three One-Day Internationals in Rawalpindi and five Twenty-20 Internationals in Lahore.
However, on the day of the first ODI, the Black Caps dropped out of the trip due to “an increase in the New Zealand government danger levels for Pakistan.”
“When Pakistan needed the Western bloc, they did not assist us,” Raja, who played 57 Tests for Pakistan, said.
“Anywhere in the globe, security may be a problem. We feel betrayed by the Western bloc’s handling of the situation.
“They may use mental weariness as an excuse, but that isn’t enough.”
At the end of 2022, England’s men will play three Tests in Pakistan.
The ECB wants to “emphasize a continuing commitment to our major touring intentions in Pakistan for 2022,” according to the statement.
“We’ve had lots of meetings over the last few days, with everything that’s been going on in that part of the world,” Clare Connor, the ECB’s managing director of women’s cricket, told ESPNcricinfo. “It’s desperately sad for Pakistan cricket and for the fans in that part of the world who are desperate to support their players and see live cricket in their country.”
“It’s a major letdown. Our players were ecstatic about the possibility of a historic trip to Pakistan for England women, and taking international women’s cricket to that area of the globe would have been something they were extremely proud of, but it was not to be.”
‘The ECB prioritizes its players.’
Jonathan Agnew, cricket reporter, provides his analysis.
There is a distinct and intriguing contrast between England’s and New Zealand’s positions.
The word’security’ does not appear in the ECB statement at all, while New Zealand withdrew due to a particular security concern.
As they attempt to restore some normalcy to the game in Pakistan, they will be saddened by this second withdrawal in a matter of days.
With stifling security and bio-bubbles on the horizon for the T20 World Cup and the Ashes, the ECB has prioritized the safety of its players.
‘It’s nothing short of a disaster for PCB.’
Abid Hussain’s Urdu analysis
This is nothing short of a disaster for the Pakistan Cricket Board, and their ambitions to host other nations in the future, such as Australia in 2022, seem to be in jeopardy.
They have worked extremely hard in recent years to offer protection and a feeling of safety and security to visiting teams.
They have successfully hosted Pakistan Super League matches, a World XI, and visiting sides from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and South Africa from 2019 onwards.
The growing opinion within the country’s cricket community is that this decision illustrates the game’s inequity, where power dynamics between nations and economic interests are often prioritized.
Especially when one considers that Pakistan has visited English shores every year since 2016, and the trip in 2020 took place at the height of the UK’s Covid epidemic, requiring visiting teams to endure a lengthy and difficult quarantine.
The PCB hoped that their early 2021 trip to New Zealand, as well as their summer tour to the United Kingdom, would aid those sides in reciprocal visits to Pakistan.
Unfortunately, it was not to be.
The pak vs eng 2021 schedule is a good example of how sports can be affected by politics. England’s men’s and women’s team has been withdrawn from the upcoming white-ball tour in Pakistan.
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