‘Cost and availability’ forces England to postpone proposed tour of Pakistan

England were planning to visit Pakistan for a three-match T20I series in January 2021

‘Cost and availability’ forces England to postpone proposed tour of Pakistan PHOTO: Reuters

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has decided against touring Pakistan, early next year, due to availability of players and expenses involved.

According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, the ECB is now considering touring Pakistan in late 2021, in September or October, and use that visit as preparation for the T20 World Cup.

January 2021 was originally being considered for a three-match T20I series between the two sides but at that time England’s Test contingent will be busy due to series against Sri Lanka and India. On the other hand, many white-ball players will be featuring in the Big Bash League (BBL) which was going to make it difficult to assemble a full-strength team for the tour of Pakistan.   

“With England's Test squad scheduled for series in Sri Lanka and India in January and a large number of their top limited-overs players scheduled to be involved in the BBL, there had been the prospect of England sending the equivalent of a C Team to Pakistan for what would have amounted to the first official tour of the country in 15 years,” the report said.

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The cost of the trip also had a major bearing on the decision by the ECB.

“Although the trip might have lasted as little as 96 hours - the plan was to play two or three games in Karachi in that period - England were planning on arranging a training camp in the UAE and hiring a charter flight for the team. It is understood costs could have extended to somewhere around £800,000 for the trip,” the report added.

England have not toured Pakistan since 2005 amid security concerns, especially due to the 2009 terrorist attack on Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

Pakistan were one of four teams that went over to the United Kingdom (UK) this year, amid Covid-19 pandemic, which played a major role in keeping financial losses at a manageable level for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). The series is a way to thank Pakistan for their help in accelerating the opening up of the country to touring teams.