Abbas ‘hurt’ by England’s ‘anomalous’ decision to cancel Pakistan tour

Mohammad Abbas said on Thursday that the “strange” decision by English cricket chiefs to cancel tours for their men’s and women’s teams next month had “damaged” Pakistan.

It was also a poor return for Pakistan’s decision to tour England last year during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom, according to paceman Abbas.

“Obviously when you give 100 percent, you need to get back the same things,” he said. “It hurts us.”

On Monday, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) cited “increasing concerns regarding travel to the region,” only days after New Zealand cancelled a tour to Pakistan due to security issues. However, Christian Turner, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, stated that the ECB made the decision based on player welfare.

Last year, Pakistan visited England for a three-match Test and T20 series at a time when Covid-19 infection rates in the UK were among the highest in the world, saving the ECB millions in television rights deals.

“We are sacrificing lots of things, so it’s strange for us,” Abbas, playing for English side Hampshire, told reporters after the south coast club were denied the County Championship title by a dramatic one-wicket loss to Lancashire at Liverpool. “We are disappointed.”

The England men’s team’s first trip to Pakistan since 2005 was only supposed to last four days, with two Twenty20 matches scheduled for Rawalpindi on October 13 and 14. Two women’s T20 matches were scheduled as double-headers on the same days as three women’s one-day internationals in the same cities. The ECB “used and then binned” PCB chairman Ramiz Raja, while Abbas said: “We (Pakistanis) love cricket, we want to play cricket, we were here at a very odd moment when the Covid was everywhere.”

“I am proud of our security agencies so it hurts us that they (England) are not going to Pakistan.” Abbas, a veteran of 25 Tests, said the fact several England cricketers, including Hampshire captain James Vince, have played in the Twenty20 Pakistan Super League in recent seasons made the decision to cancel the England tours all the more perplexing.