England cricket have called off their tour to Pakistan which was scheduled for October, due to worries about players mental health. This follows shortly after New Zealand cancelled their tour to Pakistan just minutes before an ODI, because of security fears.
Although the decision by England was expected, the decision has left Pakistan furious. The consequences by both England and New Zealand will certainly set back cricket for years in Pakistan.
Fanatical Pakistan cricket lovers deprived of seeing more top sides
Just as the fanatical Pakistan cricket lovers thought that cricket would return once Sri Lanka visited in 2019, this happens to them. Back in 2009 an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team occurred in March when a bus carrying their players was fired on.
Ten years later Sri Lanka where more than happy to come back and play, despite what had happened in the past. It was looking like more countries would be happy to arrange tours with Pakistan, until now.
ECB claim anxious concerns for players well being
The ECB sited security concerns would cause too much anxiety to players weary of Covid-19 bubbles. Not an ideal preparation for the forthcoming Twenty20 World Cup. True, but remember Pakistan players had to spend two months in suffocating Covid bubbles in England last summer.
Despite an outbreak inside the England camp, Pakistan where more than happy to stay on. Pakistan also agreed to tour England back in 2020 while the Covid-19 pandemic raged worldwide.
This saved the ECB from losing millions of pounds in broadcasting income. Pakistan were happy to complete this tour and a tour to New Zealand. This decision now appears to have backfired on them, which is completely understandable.
It is a difficult situation with sides touring due to the world we live in now. Of course the player’s safety and mental health concerns are paramount. I am pretty sure that all England and New Zealand had a say in the decision not to tour. Understandably, if any player is not happy about touring they should have the right not to, and this will always be taken into consideration.
One must have so much sympathy for Pakistan
However, you have to have immense sympathy for Pakistan cricket at the moment. Everybody who loves the game of cricket in Pakistan desperately wants to see sides tour.
The Pakistan management and players were willing to come to England and New Zealand, but now both sides won’t return the favour. The consequences of this decision has now put a hold on teams touring Pakistan.
This decision could well rebound on both New Zealand and England in future years. Will Pakistan want to come over to both countries again if asked? If not it will be a shame for cricket, but fully comprehensible.