Noted British journalist blasts ECB for withdrawing Pakistan tour

156 Noted British Journalist

ISLAMABAD (APP): British journalist and broadcaster Peter Oborne has come down hard on the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for calling off their next month’s tour of Pakistan saying that the move was not just a blow to Pakistan cricket but to the world cricket.

The ECB on Monday abandoned their tour of Pakistan citing concerns about travelling to the region.

The England men’s team were supposed to play two T20Is in Pakistan ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 on October 13 and 14. The women’s team was to tour the region simultaneously for a limited-overs series comprising two T20Is and three ODIs.

However, ECB has decided to withdraw its teams from the tour stating, “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.

“Pakistan is one of the most brilliant [and] wonderful teams in the world. It [the decision] doesn’t appear to have been made on security grounds,” Oborne told Sky News on Tuesday.

“Given that the England Cricket owes so much to Pakistan who came at the height of the Covid epidemic last summer ….. to bail out English Cricket. They came here again this summer, and what do they get in return from the English Cricket Board? A kick in the teeth,” he added.

He said that while certain events had been taking place in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover, “the security advice [from the British government] was that it was okay to travel to Pakistan. He also blasted ECB Chairman Ian Watmore for not having come out in public to justify the ECB decision he called him invisible Ian. “Why have we not heard from Ian Watmore, the chairman of the English cricket board and justified the decision.

To a question as to why the ECB chose to withdraw from the tour if there were no security concerns, he said: “[because] they are pusillanimous. They’re afraid of the players, they are affected by the Indians, in particular the IPL (Indian Premier League).”

“It smells to me [that]….. this is player power, and a craven, pusillanimous, cowardly board prepared to kick one of our closest cricketing allies to whom we owe an enormous debt of gratitude and honour, they [ECB] kicked them…… in the teeth,” he added.

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