Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding has slammed the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over their cancellation of the men’s and women’s teams’ tour of Pakistan recently and said that had it been an India tour, they would not have had the guts to tell the Indian cricket board they would not tour the country.
Earlier, several former cricketers and commentators across the world had criticised the ECB for its decision to cancel the short tour of Pakistan after the New Zealand cricket team decided to abandon the limited-overs series hours before the opening One-day International at Rawalpindi in September this year.
“Four days in Pakistan (was all they would have spent), I am absolutely sure they would not have done that to India,” Holding was quoted as saying by skysports on Wednesday.
“What that signal sends to me is the same western arrogance. I will treat you how I feel like treating you — it doesn’t matter what you think, I will just do what I want,” added Holding.
The former West Indies great also agreed with England great Michael Atherton, who too had criticised the ECB for pulling out of the tour.
“You know why? Because India is rich and powerful. I am in total agreement with Mike Atherton and (cricket writer) George Dobell, who wrote articles condemning England and the ECB. They were going for four days. Pakistan went to England (in 2020) before vaccines were available for six, seven weeks, something like that. They stayed, they played their cricket, they were in that bubble,” Holding said.
“I was in that bubble and it wasn’t fantastic but it was better than going out into society, where we know Covid was and without any vaccinations available to anyone. They stayed, they played, and honoured what England wanted them to honour, and now you have an opportunity to try and repay them to a small degree,” added he.
Releasing a statement last month, the ECB had cancelled the tour, just days after New Zealand abandoned their limited-overs tour of Pakistan citing security concerns.
“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,” an official ECB statement said.
“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,” it added.
“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 ECB further said.
The ECB has, however, assured the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that it will play a full series against Pakistan next year.