Having recently pulled out of the two friendly games they were supposed to play in Pakistan, the England and Wales Cricket Board had put their plans for 2022 in jeopardy. However, they have reaffirmed their commitment to tour the country upon their board officials’ visit to the country to meet PCB chairman Ramiz Raja.
Tom Harrison, the chief executive of ECB, was in Lahore with his deputy Martin Darlow to clear the misunderstandings and solidify the ties between the two countries. England’s last-minute cancellation of their tour to Pakistan wasn’t received well by Ramiz Raja and co, and despite citing “bubble fatigue” as the main reason for it, the timing of their exit warranted plenty of other headlines.
Their cancellation came right after New Zealand had quit the Pakistan tour on the day they were supposed to play the first game. Citing security issues and terrorist threats, the Kiwis had flown back in a canter and it made the PCB furious. In less than 48 hours, it was confirmed that England will not be visiting them as promised before.
However, things seemed to have taken a turn for the good after Pakistan’s sensational performance in the T20 World Cup 2021. Pakistan remain the only unbeaten team in the Super 12 stages, and will face Australia in the semifinal as they chase their second T20 World Cup crown.
Harrison had mentioned in a statement after his meeting with PCB officials, that England players are more than eager to test their skills in these challenging Pakistani conditions. He also said that there is great history between both countries and both parties intend to look forward to keeping agendas from the past behind.
“Myself and ECB’s Senior Director Martin Darlow visited Lahore to talk face-to-face with the PCB about some of the things that have happened over the past few weeks, leading to the cancellation of our tour in October.
This is just to reaffirm our commitment to Pakistan cricket to getting England teams, men’s and women’s teams, eventually playing in Pakistan at home.”he said.
England women’s side were supposed to join the men’s unit in their tour last month, and it is not confirmed yet as to where the stance is on this situation. But both Harrison and Raja have confirmed that the men and women from England’s cricketing circuit will be making their visit, although there isn’t official confirmation with regards to the women’s visit.
The commitment of five T20Is to be played next year has been extended to seven, as a gesture of gratitude towards Pakistan for their tour of England when the pandemic was in full swing last year. PCB had earlier threatened to cancel all their engagements with England in the 2022/23 season, which included a 3-match Test series. Harrison confirmed that those tours are in no danger, and will go as per plan.
Raja had said England officials have shown “large-heartedness” in making this visit to clarify and reaffirm their stance. He had heaped praises on their development in limited-overs cricket, and said that they play very engaging and attractive cricket.
This is the second great news for Pakistan cricket fans in a matter of days, as this confirmation from England came shortly after Cricket Australia’s announcement that they will be touring for the first time in Pakistan since 1998. The Australian visit will include three Tests, three ODIs and one T20I.
An elated Raja said that Pakistan takes pride in the teams that visit here and are looking forward to welcoming them.
“We put in a lot of effort to make sure that all visiting teams are comfortable in Pakistan. As such, it is a matter of pride for the Pakistan fans, who look forward to welcoming Australia and England in 2022,”Raja said.