ECB Chairman Apologises, Commits to Tour of Pakistan in 2022
The PCB has received an apology from ECB chairman Ian Whatmore who admits that the relationship between the boards has taken a beating and must be rebuilt. Whatmore has addressed the media for the first time since England’s withdrawal from the women’s and men’s tours of Pakistan shortly after NZ cited a specific security threat before an abrupt abandonment of their tour of the country.
Whatmore Tries to Clear Air after Tour Cancellation
Giving an interview to a media outlet, Whatmore admitted that the ECB had factored in their decision to withdraw while prioritising player welfare. “I’m very sorry to anyone who feels hurt or let down by our decision, particularly in Pakistan. The decision the board made was an extremely difficult one.”
“I won’t go into details, but we received advice on security and player welfare and took the decision we made. We had to make it quickly because of the short term to the World Cup and the New Zealand exodus from Pakistan. They were all factors, but the primary consideration was the welfare of the players.”
Scheduled England Tour of Pakistan Was First Since 2006
Had the scheduled tours in October gone ahead they would have been England’s first visit to Pakistan since the 2005-06 season, as well as the first by England women. The men’s team were due to feature in two T20Is as part of their preparation for the upcoming World Cup. The women were scheduled to play two T20Is followed by three ODIs.
Need to Rebuild Relationship, Says Whatmore
“We need to rebuild our relationship with Pakistan and will refocus on going there in 2022. This wasn’t the right time. Obviously we’re extremely grateful to Pakistan coming here last year and we will do everything we can to deliver the scheduled tour next year.”
Whatmore added that “The board took the decision based on its own judgments and it didn’t go out to wider consultation. Had we decided to go forward with the tour, we’d have had to put the proposals to TEPP (the body that represents England players) and the PCA, but it didn’t reach that point.”
Pakistan Struggling to Cope with Repercussions
Pakistan are continuing to struggle to cope with the repercussions of England’s decision. The PCB has expressed a concern that England’s decision could snowball with Australia likely to follow suit by withdrawing from their scheduled tour in 2022, ruining what was anticipated to be Pakistan’s best home season in many years.
Pakistan Sceptical About England Commitment
In the wake of England’s withdrawal from their proposed tours in October, PCB chairman Ramiz Raja has talked about having contingency plans in place in regard to the scheduled full tour of Pakistan by England in 2022. Raja appears unconvinced that there wouldn’t be a late withdrawal from that tour as well by the ECB.
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