England's tour of Pakistan is in jeopardy as the ECB reassesses security measures

The men’s and women’s England trips to Pakistan, set for next month, are in doubt following New Zealand Cricket’s decision to cancel their own tour to Pakistan on Friday (September 17) due to a “government security concern.”

Earlier on Friday, the ECB issued the following statement: “We’re in contact with our security team in Pakistan to have a better understanding of the situation. The ECB Board will then decide whether or not our planned tour should go forward in the following 24-48 hours.”

The men’s and women’s England sides will play two T20Is in Rawalpindi on October 13 and 14, with the women staying on for a three-match ODI series. The ECB has confirmed that they are reviewing their plans in the wake of New Zealand’s decision, which came just minutes before the scheduled start of their first ODI in Rawalpindi. A decision is expected in the next “24-48 hours.”

The tour would have been a watershed point in Pakistan cricket’s history. Due to security concerns, England has not visited Pakistan since 2005, but the two-match series was accepted as a token of gratitude for Pakistan’s aid in assisting them in staging cricket during the English summer of 2020 when the country was under lockdown. To ensure that the ECB could stage the series, Pakistan’s players had to spend an extended period of time in a bio-bubble.

It may be premature to throw doubt on the viability of England’s men’s Test tour to Pakistan in late 2022, but the resurgence of security concerns in the region will almost certainly have an impact on the series’ staging.