After New Zealand, England cancel Pakistan cricket series as well

LONDON: England cricket chiefs on Monday cancelled upcoming men’s and women’s tours of Pakistan days after New Zealand abandoned their series over security concerns.

The men’s side were due to play two Twenty20 internationals on October 13 and 14, with the women playing three one-day internationals on October 17, 19 and 21.

All the matches were set to take place in Rawalpindi.

“We can confirm that the Board has reluctantly decided to withdraw both teams from the October trip,” a tweet by the England Cricket Board said.

The decision comes three days after New Zealand abandoned their tour of Pakistan citing a “security threat”, minutes before the first ODI match was scheduled to start at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium — a move that shocked Pakistani fans and officials.

“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 know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region,” it said while referring to Pakistan, adding that going ahead with the tour “will add further pressure to a playing group who have already coped with a long period of operating in restricted Covid environments”.

According to the press release, there was an “added complexity” for England 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,” it explained.

“We understand that this decision will be a significant disappointment to the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board), who have worked tirelessly to host the return of international cricket in their country,” the statement said, noting that Pakistan’s support of English and Welsh cricket over the last two summers had 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.”

With additional input from APP

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