ECB confirms invitation to tour Pakistan in early 2021

Sports

LONDON: England could tour Pakistan for the primary time in over a decade after the ECB officials confirmed that they had received a call for participation to go to the Asian giants early in 2021 for a ‘short white-ball series’.

Fifty-over world champions England haven’t played in Pakistan since 2005-06 once they played three Tests and five One-day Internationals.

An attack by armed militants on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore in 2009 ended major cricket tours for a decade, but Sri Lanka , Zimbabwe, West Indies and Bangladesh have all since made the trip.

An England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) statement issued late on Thursday said: “After discussions with the Pakistan Cricket Board [PCB], we will confirm the britain and Wales Cricket Board [ECB] has received a call for participation in respect of a brief white-ball tour to Pakistan during the first a part of 2021. “We welcome the very fact that international cricket is returning to Pakistan and are committed to doing what we will to assist this develop further.”

The statement added that ‘the safety and welfare of our players and staff is paramount’, with security issues and therefore the development of Covid-19 secure ‘bubbles’ of the type pioneered in England this year among the ECB’s key concerns.

“We are going to be liaising with the PCB, and also as other partners over the approaching weeks to figure through these considerations, before a final judgment are going to be taken in due course,” the ECB said.

Although the ECB didn’t specify any dates, Wasim Khan, the Birmingham-born chief executive of the PCB said: “We have sent them a window of January 13-20, so we’ll do our greatest to form this tour happen.

“They [ECB] will consider it (the invitation) and have a security assessment. it’ll be a really important tour and help improve our credibility as a number ,” he added.

It is understood the proposed tour could contains three Twenty20 Inter­nationals, none of which might replace England’s rescheduled tour of Sri Lanka .

Pakistan, following within the footsteps of the West Indies , visited England this year for 3 Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals despite Britain being one among the countries which has been worst hit by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Two of international cricket’s financially poorer leading sides helped spare one among the wealthiest in England an estimated 280 million pounds ($366 million) loss if all the ECB’s scheduled matches were exhausted by Covid-19.

That prompted Pakistan great Wasim Akram to mention in August: “You [England] boys owe Pakistan cricket, and therefore the country, a lot, with the boys coming up here .”

The same month saw Joe Root, England’s Test captain, say: “I’d like to go and visit Pakistan.”

England are meant to tour South Africa next month but a shadow has been cast over that campaign after the country’s government signalled it had been close to intervene within the Proteas’ chaotic cricket administration.

They could then be in Sri Lanka in January for a tour that was originally halted in March due to the virus outbreak before travelling to India for a Test series which will , like this year’s Indian Premier League, be moved to the UAE on virus-related health grounds.

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