- Development comes merely days after New Zealand abruptly abandoned the series in Pakistan citing a 'credible and direct threat'
Pakistan suffered another blow as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday announced that they were 'reluctantly' withdrawing their men's and women's teams from the October trip.
The development comes merely days after New Zealand Cricket (NZC) abruptly abandoned the series in Pakistan citing a "credible and direct threat", a decision the hosts maintain was taken "unilaterally".
In its official statement, the ECB said that they had previously agreed to tour Pakistan, but after an "extended conversation over the weekend" decided against it.
"The ECB Board convened this weekend to discuss these extra England Women's and Men's games in Pakistan and we can confirm that the Board has reluctantly decided to withdraw both teams from the October trip.
"The mental and physical well-being of our players and support staff remains our highest priority and this is even more critical given the times we are currently living in.
"We know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region and believe that going ahead will add further pressure to a playing group who have already coped with a long period of operating in restricted Covid environments."
The ECB expressed regret for not living up to the commitment and for the loss it would cause to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that has been working tirelessly to bring back the sport to Pakistan.
We know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region and believe that going ahead will add further pressure to a playing group who have already coped with a long period of operating in restricted Covid environments: ECB
“We understand that this decision will be a significant disappointment to the PCB, who have worked tirelessly to host the return of international cricket in their country.”
The board also thanked PCB for the support they have extended over the years while showing commitment to its touring plans for 2022.
England cricket team is scheduled to play five ODIs in Pakistan in October next year.
In response, newly-elected PCB chairman Ramiz Raja likened the ECB’s decision with “failing a member of their cricket fraternity when it needed it most”.
“Disappointed with England, pulling out of their commitment and failing a member of their Cricket fraternity when it needed it most,” Ramiz wrote on Twitter shortly after the decision was made public.
He, however, said Pakistan cricket will survive through this and rise again.
Ramiz also called on national cricketers to become the best team in the world so that other teams "line up to play them without making excuses".