In a bid to repair the England Cricket Board (ECB) relations with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which was strained after the cancellation of England’s T20 tour of Pakistan, the English cricket board’s Chief Executive Tom Harrison on Tuesday arrived in Lahore.
During his short tour, Harrison is scheduled to meet the newly appointed PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja on Tuesday afternoon.
As per reports, the ECB’s top administrator has flown to Pakistan to re-establish relations with PCB and during the meeting with Raja, the ECB chief will discuss England’s visit to Pakistan in 2022.
After Pakistan, Harrison is scheduled to visit the UAE later this week for an International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executives’ meeting.
Notably, relations between the two cricket boards was damaged after England cancelled its Pakistan tour in September, citing “increasing concerns about travelling to the region”.
Just few days after New Zealand had abandoned their limited-overs tour of Pakistan citing security concerns, the ECB, releasing a statement last month, had also cancelled their tour.
“Earlier this year, we agreed to play two additional T20 World Cup warm-up games in Pakistan in October, adding a short women’s tour with double headers alongside the men’s games,” an official ECB statement had said.
“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,” it had added.
“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. Their support of English and Welsh cricket over the last two summers has been a huge demonstration of friendship. We are sincerely sorry for the impact this will have on cricket in Pakistan and emphasise an ongoing commitment to our main touring plans there for 2022,” the ECB further said.
The ECB had, however, assured the PCB that it will play a full series against Pakistan next year.
Significantly, several former cricketers had slammed the ECB for cancelling the tour with former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding saying that had it been an India tour, they would not have had the guts to tell the Indian cricket board they would not tour their country.
“Four days in Pakistan (was all they would have spent), I am absolutely sure they would not have done that to India,” Holding was quoted as saying by SkySports.
“What that signal sends to me is the same western arrogance. I will treat you how I feel like treating you — it doesn’t matter what you think, I will just do what I want,” added Holding.
The former West Indies great also agreed with England great Michael Atherton, who too had criticised the ECB for pulling out of the tour.