England pull out of next month’s white-ball tour to Pakistan

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday (September 20) announced that they will not send their men and women’s team on the tour of Pakistan, which was scheduled to be played next month.

The development comes three days after New Zealand pulled out of the Pakistan tour moments before the first ODI, citing a security alert from their government.

In what could have been their first visit to Pakistan since 2005, England men’s team was slated to play two T20Is in Rawalpindi on October 13 and October 14. On the other hand, the women’s side was due to play two T20Is and three ODIs in Rawalpindi from October 13 to October 21.

“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,” ECB said in a statement.

“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.

 “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,” the governing body further said.

After New Zealand, England’s pull-out is a big setback to the revival of international cricket in Pakistan, which has not been able to host major cricketing nations on a regular basis in the aftermath of a 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team.