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England pulls out of Pakistan tour just days after New Zealand abandon series

Pakistan cricket dealt a big blow as England pulls out of Pak tour

Bengaluru, Sept. 20: After New Zealand cancelled its tour of Pakistan, the Asian nation was dealt another blow as England called off their upcoming tour to Pakistan.

England to assess ground situation in Pakistan after NZ pull out, to decide on tour in next 48 hoursEngland to assess ground situation in Pakistan after NZ pull out, to decide on tour in next 48 hours

In a statement on Monday, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said that both the men's tour, where two T20 World Cup warm-up games were set to be played, and the women's tour have been called off.

This came as a big blow to Pakistan cricket, after New Zealand pulled its team out on the day of the first ODI, due to security threats. England were scheduled to travel to Rawalpindi in October for two T20 Internationals. This would have been England's first visit to Pakistan since 2005.

"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," the ECB said in a statement.

The board further stated that the decision had also been taken keeping in mind the mental and physical well-being of the players. "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."

Furthermore, the ECB stated that with the T20 World Cup around the corner, it was not ideal to put the players through these conditions. "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 read.

Signing off, the England Board kept its promise of touring Pakistan in the future. "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," stated the ECB statement.

The cancellation of both the New Zealand tour and England tour is a huge setback to the revival of international cricket in Pakistan.

Source: ECB Media Release

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Story first published: Monday, September 20, 2021, 21:46 [IST]
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