Tour call-off ECB’s decision, not Government’s

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Sep 23 2021

The England and Wales Cricket Board's decision to pull their men's and women's teams out of their series in Pakistan next month is set to come under more scrutiny after the British High Commissioner to the country, Christian Turner, confirmed that his team did not advise the ECB against touring on security grounds. 

While the decision to cancel the England tours did not come as a surprise following New Zealand's abandonment of their own tour to Pakistan last week citing a security threat, the ECB's reasoning, which centred on concerns for player wellbeing rather than security, was unexpected and has left them open to accusations of picking and choosing their assignments. 

It is now clear that the advice given to the ECB was that it was safe to travel to Pakistan. As well as Turner's confirmation that the Government's advice did not change, Cricbuzz has been told that the ECB's own security assessment, carried out by consultancy ESI Risk and which gave the green light for the England tour to progress three weeks ago, has not changed either. In a video posted on Twitter, Turner said: "I share the deep sadness of cricket fans that England will not tour Pakistan in October. 

This was a decision made by the ECB, which is independent of the British Government, based on concerns for player welfare. The British High Commission supported the tour, did not advise against it on security grounds and our travel advice for Pakistan has not changed. "I have been a champion of international cricket's return to Pakistan and will redouble my efforts in advance of England's autumn 2022 tour. My thanks to all at the PCB who have worked so hard in support of that. 

I hope that we will hear the roar of full cricket stadiums again. In the end, cricket will be victorious." England have now abandoned or postponed tours to South Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan since the pandemic struck, while they have hosted a full programme of cricket, barring the final Test against India earlier this month, in both of their last two home summers. 

(Cricbuzz)

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Sep 23 2021

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