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20 Oct 2021 3:28
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  •   Home > News > Sports

    Pakistan officials furious after England withdraw from cricket tour

    England has pulled out of their limited overs tour to Pakistan just days after New Zealand exited the country amid security concerns, prompting a frustrated response from officials.

    English cricket officials provoked an angry response from Pakistan after withdrawing their men's and women's teams from a limited-overs trip to the Asian country next month.

    The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) cited "increasing concerns" about travelling to the region.

    Its decision came three days after New Zealand Cricket abandoned its men's team's tour of Pakistan after a government alert warned of a "specific and credible threat" of a possible attack outside Rawalpindi Stadium.

    In a statement released after a board meeting over the weekend, the ECB did not detail any specific security issues, instead highlighting "the mental and physical wellbeing of our players and support staff".

    "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.

    Within minutes, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja reacted on Twitter, saying: "Disappointed with England, pulling out of their commitment and failing a member of their Cricket fraternity when it needed it most. Survive we will, inshallah."

    After the New Zealand team's withdrawal from its tour on Friday, Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said he had no information about a security threat against the New Zealanders and that Pakistan had given New Zealand guarantees that the players would be safe.

    According to Mr Ahmed, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told her Pakistan counterpart, Imran Khan, that the country had information the players could come under attack outside of the stadium.

    England men's and women's teams were scheduled to play all of their matches in Rawalpindi.

    The decision means England's men's team, who were set to play T20s on October 13 and 14, have not played an international in Pakistan since 2005.

    The women's team were to visit for the first time and were due to play three ODIs as well as two T20s.

    "It's absurd. We have gone out of our way to accommodate international sides," Mr Raja told the BBC World Service.

    "I'm extremely disappointed and so are the fans. Right now, we needed England.

    "It's a small cricket fraternity that we have. We were expecting England to be a little bit more responsible. We are hurt, but forward we shall move."

    Pakistan was a no-go zone for international cricket teams for a decade after terrorists attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009. The ambush killed seven people and injured several Sri Lankan cricketers.

    International teams resumed touring Pakistan in 2019 when Sri Lanka played a two-Test series.

    The ECB said another "complexity" was the potential harm a trip to Pakistan could do to the men's team's preparations for the T20 World Cup, which begins later in October.

    "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," the statement said.

    "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."

    England is scheduled to play three Test matches in the country in 2022.

    Pakistan's men's team visited England to play three ODIs and three T20s in July.



    © 2021 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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