PCB not in a hurry to make call on England tour amid COVID-19 crisis

PCB said they will not compromise on players' health in the worst COVID-19 affected UK.

Pakistan to play 3 Tests in England in July-August this year | Reuters

With the “things are changing in England every day” due to the ongoing global Coronavirus pandemic, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) doesn’t want to make any decision in hurry regarding Pakistan’s upcoming tour of England in July-August this year.

England is scheduled to host Pakistan for a three-match Test series from July 30, followed by three Twenty20 internationals, but at the moment, UK is struggling to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 as Britain is among the most affected country with 223K infections and over 32000 deaths so far.

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However, all form of the game is suspended in England until July, but the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is planning to host home international fixtures at the empty stadiums.

Well, the PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan has on Monday (May 11) made it clear that the board would wait a few more weeks before taking a final call on the England tour, saying they will not compromise players’ health and safety amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Wasim told reporters, “Health and safety are paramount for our players and officials and we are not going to compromise on it. The situation in England is poor right now, and we will ask them about their plans. We are not making any decisions, but we will assess and decide in the next three to four weeks.”

He further added, “This isn't an easy situation, and it isn't an easy decision to make, because things are changing every day in England. There are so many things to be considered - flights, hotels and they are talking about bio-security stadiums ... so if people ask me, I will tell them to wait and be patient.”

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It is being said that the PCB executives along with Head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq will discuss the arrangements with the ECB on Friday (May 15) via video conference.

Meanwhile, the international cricket made a successful return to Pakistan after a gap of around 10 years since a militant attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore in 2009, but still, the world's top teams are reluctant to visit the country because of the security fears.

However, England is scheduled to tour next year while Australia is due to visit Pakistan in 2022 and Wasim insisted that the PCB would not make England's visit a pre-condition of traveling to the UK for the upcoming series, saying this difficult time demands all to stand together.

The PCB CEO further explained, “It's a tough situation for everyone right now, and I don't think it's fair to take advantage of the situation. The most important thing for us is to revive the game for all countries. If we don't, we will be facing a lot of problems going forward.”

He signed off by saying, “The next 12 months will be tough for cricket financially ... thankfully, the PCB is fine for the next 12 months but thereafter, in 18 months' time, we will also have problems. Hopefully, by then, cricket will resume.”

(With Reuters Inputs)


By Rashmi Nanda - 12 May, 2020

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