The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Monday that the tour of Pakistan in October by their men's and women's teams has been cancelled due to "increasing concerns about travelling to the region."
The trip, which would have been the men's team first trip tp Pakistan after 2005 and first ever by the women's team, was in serious doubt since New Zealand men's team pulled out of their white-ball series on Friday, citing security concerns.
"The ECB has a longstanding commitment to tour Pakistan as part of the Men's Future Tours Programme in 2022. 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. 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," read the ECB statement posted on their website.
The England men's and women's teams were scheduled to play Twenty20 matches in Rawalpindi on October 14 and 15. While the men's team would fly for the T20 World Cup in UAE, the women's team would stay back for three ODIs.
"The mental and physical well-being of our players and support staff remains our highest priority and this is even more critical given the times we are currently living in. We know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region and believe that going ahead will add further pressure to a playing group who have already coped with a long period of operating in restricted Covid environments. There is the added complexity for our Men's T20 squad. We believe that touring under these conditions will not be ideal preparation for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, where performing well remains a top priority for 2021."
"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 chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Ramiz Raja, expressed his disappointment over ECB's decision to not travel to Pakistan.
"Disappointed with England, pulling out of their commitment & failing a member of their Cricket fraternity when it needed it most. Survive we will inshallah. A wake up call for Pak team to become the best team in the world for teams to line up to play them without making excuses," read his tweet.