British journalist blasts ECB for suspending Pakistan tour

International cricket suffers in Pakistan after New Zealand, England cricket teams abandon tours

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British journalist Peter Oborne has claimed that the English cricket team’s withdrawal from its Pakistan tour wreaked of a ploy against the country to ‘keep in with’ with the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Oborne appeared on a British news channel, Sky News, and berated the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for deciding against sending the men’s and women’s cricket teams to play in Pakistan in October. He recalled that former England captain Eoin Morgan cited security concerns and refused to play a match scheduled in Bangladesh in 2016, but later went on to play for the IPL. The journalist said that the ECB was a ‘craven pusillanimous cowardly board’ that shunned Pakistan, which according to him was England’s closest cricketing ally.

The journalist added that the British High Commission was happy with the security arrangements for the cricket teams. Oborne further wondered why nobody had heard from ECB Chairman Ian Watmore on the matter.

The feeling of abandonment was also echoed by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja who told ESPNcricinfo that he was ‘severely disappointed’ by England abandoning the tour. Raja said that he believed England and New Zealand (NZ) to be Pakistan’s cricket allies, but their withdrawals proved otherwise. He added that England, NZ, and Australia had formed a ‘bloc’ that supported each other and now Pakistan would also only pursue what was in its best interest.

The ECB in a statement called off the two Twenty-20 matches that England’s cricket teams were set to play on October 14 and 15 in Pakistan. The ECB said it made the decision to prioritize players’ mental and physical health above all. The decision came a few days after NZ’s ‘Black Caps’ cricket team left Pakistan hastily hours before their first match in Rawalpindi because of security concerns.