THE BIG CALL OF THE ECB
Pakistan has visited England twice since the start of the Covid pandemic. Â© Getty
The decision of the England and Wales Cricket Council to remove their men’s and women’s teams from their series in Pakistan next month should be subject to further scrutiny after Britain’s high commissioner in the country Christian Turner confirmed that his team did not advise the ECB against touring for security reasons.
While the decision to cancel tours to England came as no surprise following New Zealand’s abandonment of its own tour of Pakistan last week citing a security threat, the reasoning of the ECB, which was centered on concerns for player welfare rather than security, was unexpected. and left them exposed to accusations of selection and choice of their assignments.
It is now clear that the advice given to the ECB was that it was safe to travel to Pakistan. In addition to Turner’s confirmation that the government‘s view has not changed, Cricbuzz has learned that the ECB’s own security assessment, carried out by consultancy firm ESI Risk, which gave the green light to the ECB. toured England three weeks ago, hasn’t changed either. .
In a video posted to Twitter, Turner said: âI share the deep sadness of cricket fans that England does not tour Pakistan in October. This is a decision taken by the ECB, which is independent from UK government, based on player concerns The UK High Commission supported the tour, did not advise against it for security reasons and our travel advice for Pakistan has not changed.
âI have been a champion of the return of international cricket to Pakistan and will redouble my efforts ahead of the 2022 England Fall Tour. My thanks to all the PCB members who have worked so hard to support it. J ‘hope we hear the roar of full cricket stadiums again. In the end, cricket will be victorious. ”
England have now abandoned or postponed tours to South Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan since the pandemic struck as they staged a full cricket program except the latest test against India plus early this month, in their last two summers at home. This has sparked double standard accusations, especially from PCB chairman Ramiz Raja, who was keen to point out that Pakistan has made two tours of England since the COVID strike.
While concerns about player welfare are understandable, it is ironic that the ECB’s statement indicates that the tour was canceled in part due to the time their players spent in restricted environments. Nine of their T20 World Cup squad are currently playing in the IPL, living in restricted conditions in the UAE at a time when they could have rested at home in the UK.
Given the absence of security concerns, the ECB could also have explored other options to kick off the tour. It could have allowed players who wanted an extra break to skip the short trip and fill the men’s and women’s teams with those who were ready to go. After all, England successfully selected a men’s second-string team against Pakistan this summer following a COVID outbreak during the ODI series and came out victorious.