Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja was left fuming after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced to pull out of their Pakistan tour in October by their men’s and women’s teams due to “increasing concerns about travelling to the region.”
Earlier, the Kiwis had called of their white-ball tour of Pakistan citing security threats.
In a video message released by the PCB on Tuesday, Ramiz said: “I am severely disappointed in England’s withdrawal but it was expected because this western bloc gets united unfortunately and tries to back each other.”
“So you can take any decision on the basis of security threat and perception. There was a sense of anger because first New Zealand got away without sharing information about the threat they were facing. Now, this [England] was expected but this is a lesson for us because we go out of our way to accommodate and pamper these sides when they visit. And when we go there, we undergo strict quarantines and we tolerate their admonishments, but there is a lesson in this. That is, that from now on we will only go as far as is in our interest,” added he.
Raja further expressed: “Our interest is that cricket will not stop in our country and if the cricket fraternity will not take care of each other then there’s no point to it. New Zealand, then England, now we have a West Indies series that can also be hit, and Australia who is already reconsidering. This — England, Australia, New Zealand — is all one block. Who can we complain to? We thought they were our own but they haven’t accepted us as theirs.”
As per reports, the PCB is in talks with Zimbabwe, Sir Lanka and Bangladesh to fill up the gap as it is likley to suffer a revenue loss of around USD25 million.
“We have to improve and expand our cricket economy so that these countries remain interested in playing us,” he said.
“That is in our interests as well so that our players are paid better and we are respected more. They come to the PSL where they don’t get spooked or fatigued but collectively they have a different mindset together toward Pakistan.
“We go in the World Cup now and where we had one team in our target — our neighbours [India], they now add two more teams — New Zealand and England. So pick up the strength and develop a mindset that we are not going to lose because you didn’t do right with us and we will avenge that in the ground,” he added.
Earlier on Monday, the ECB issued a statement on the tour cancellation and said: “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.”
Notably, the England men’s and women’s teams were scheduled to play T20Is in Rawalpindi on October 14 and 15. While the men’s team would fly for the T20 World Cup in UAE, the women’s team would stay back for three ODIs.
“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. 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.”
“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.”