Silverwood welcomes prospect of Pakistan tour
Chris Silverwood says he would have ‘no problem’ leading a tour to Pakistan, after Wasim Khan, the PCB Chief Executive, expressed his hope that England will send a T20 team to the country ahead of their next scheduled visit in 2022. England have not toured Pakistan since 2005-06 due to security concerns. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, hopes had risen that they would return to the country in two years' time, and Silverwood, the England head coach, has signaled his willingness to go.
"For me it's great that it's a topic of conversation again," Silverwood said. "We are looking to get back there."
Speaking on Sky Sports during the first day's play at Emirates Old Trafford, Wasim had echoed the sentiments of West Indies' captain, Jason Holder, who used his final press conference after last week's third Test to call on the ECB to stage a reciprocal tour of the Caribbean in the wake of their own two-month tour. Pakistan, like West Indies, are helping the ECB fulfil their contractual obligations to Sky, at significant inconvenience to their own players, who have already been in the country for a month and remain in lockdown, and Silverwood said that he would be open to returning the favour.
"Personally, I'd have no problem going," he said. "I've never been so and it would be nice to go and have a look. And I know our batsmen are looking forward to batting on their wickets. We are getting there [in terms of planning]."
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Wasim said that he hoped England could send a T20 side to Pakistan. He accepted that ‘finding time in the FTP (future tours programme) could be the challenge at this stage’ but suggested that a Lions tour, something he was calling for ahead of the dawn of Covid-19, would be ‘excellent as an alternative’.
While the ECB clarified there was no specific on-going discussion on the subject at present, it is not inconceivable the present global situation and the backlog in international fixtures could accelerate the usage of separate squads in red and white ball cricket.
England used something close to an ‘A’ team for their recently concluded ODI series against Ireland - the final game featured four of the England XI that won the World Cup final - and they could potentially satisfy more requests for tours if they were to do so more often. West Indies have also expressed hopes England will tour in the coming months as they grapple with the financial ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whether such tours take place or not, England's schedule is likely to prove hectic in the coming months. A limited-overs tour of South Africa is currently penciled in for December, while they hope to return to Sri Lanka in January to fulfil the Test tour that was called off in March.