The British High Commission did not advise against England cricket’s tour of Pakistan next month on security grounds. The top British diplomat in Pakistan, Christian Turner, confirmed on Tuesday.
In a video message, British High Commissioner Turner stated the BHC had supported the tour. “Our travel advice for Pakistan has not changed,” he said.
“This was a decision made by the ECB, which is independent of the British government, based on concerns for player welfare,” the high commissioner emphasized. The statement comes in a day after England called off their tour to Pakistan.
Turner said he shared the “deep sadness” of cricket fans over England’s decision to cancel the tour. “I have been a champion of international cricket’s return to Pakistan and will redouble my efforts in advance of England’s Autumn 2022 tour,” he added. “I hope that we will soon hear the roar of full cricket stadiums again,” the official stated. “In the end, cricket will be victorious,” he concluded in Urdu.
Here is the video message
English cricket officials provoked an angry response from Pakistan on Monday after withdrawing their men’s and women’s teams from next month’s limited-overs trip to the country. They cited increasing concerns about traveling to the region.
The ECB’s decision came three days after New Zealand Cricket abandoned its men’s team’s tour of Pakistan following a government alert that warned of a possible attack outside Rawalpindi Stadium.
Cancelation of the tours
In a statement released after a board meeting over the weekend, the ECB did not mention any specific security issues. However, it highlighted the “mental and physical wellbeing of our players and support staff”.
Both the men’s and women’s teams were scheduled to play two Twenty20 international matches in Rawalpindi on Oct 13 and 14. The women’s team was to stay on for a three-match One-Day International series from Oct 17-21. The trip would have marked the first-ever by an England women’s team and the first by their male counterparts since 2005.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is set to lose millions of dollars due to the cancelation of both tours. It helped the ECB achieve its revenue target of 300 million pounds in 2020 when the Pakistan team visited England at the height of the COVID-19 epidemic in the UK.
PCB chief executive Wasim Khan revealed on Sunday that the New Zealand tour had been abandoned after the New Zealand government received an alert from the “Five Eyes” about a “direct and imminent” threat to its team in Pakistan. The Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance. It comprises Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The cancelations of the tour caused outrage in Pakistan. New Zealand added fuel to the fire when it decided to tour India after abandoning the Pakistan tour.
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