ECB chairman promises to 'do everything we can' to travel to Pakistan on schedule in 2022

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman, Ian Watmore, has apologised to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for cancelling England’s men’s and women’s tour of Pakistan, which was set to take place in October.

ECB opted to pull out of their tours earlier this month, just days after New Zealand abruptly cancelled their whole tour of Pakistan minutes before the first ODI, citing security concerns.

Watmore said it was a “very tough” decision to make in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. He recognised that the security concern was a consideration, but stressed that the players’ well-being was the primary consideration.

“I won’t go into detail, but we got security and player welfare advice before making our decision. Because of the short time before the World Cup and the exodus of New Zealanders from Pakistan, we had to make it swiftly. They were all important considerations, but the players’ well-being was the most important.”

The October tours would have been England’s first to Pakistan in any capacity since 2005-06, and the first by the women’s squad. In the lead-up to the T20 World Cup, the men were slated to play two T20Is, both double-headers with the women, while the women were also set to play a three-match ODI series.

Watmore indicated that the players did not make the decision and that no further conversations were done. “The board made its decision based on its own judgements and did not seek wider input. We would have had to propose the suggestions to TEPP (the group that represents England players) and the PCA if we had decided to go ahead with the tour, but that didn’t happen.”

Pakistan is currently dealing with the consequences of the choice. The PCB is concerned that England’s withdrawal may result in Australia’s cancellation of their scheduled tour early next year. That would put an end to what was intended to be one of Pakistan’s most important home seasons in recent years.