England and Wales Cricket Board have decided to withdraw both, men’s as well as women’s, teams from the upcoming tour of Pakistan, days after New Zealand recalled its team citing “concerns about travelling to the region”.

The England Men’s team was scheduled to play 2 back-to-back T20Is on October 13 and 14.

On the other hand, the Women’s team was scheduled to play 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs. On Monday (September 20) night, the ECB decided to pull a plug on their tour of October, leaving Pakistanis high and dry.

International cricket in Pakistan had begun with relative frequency over the past few years.

Since the 2017 PSL final was held in Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and South Africa have all visited for T20Is, ODIs and Tests, with each tour going off without a security hitch.

Eight PSL games were held in Karachi in 2018, and the entire tournament took place in Pakistan in 2019. Since Sri Lanka played a Test series in Pakistan in 2019, the PCB indicated its desire to move all of its home series back to Pakistan from the UAE permanently.

New Zealand called off their limited-overs tour of Pakistan citing security concerns, leaving the cricket community in Pakistan unimpressed.

The tour, comprising three ODIs and five T20Is, was supposed to 17th Sept, with the first ODI in Rawalpindi, but neither team left their hotel on the morning of the game, and spectators were not allowed to enter the stadium.

I am severely disappointed in England’s withdrawal but it was expected because this western bloc gets united unfortunately and tries to back each other. So you can take any decision on the basis of security threat and perception. There was a sense of anger because first New Zealand got away without sharing information about the threat they were facing,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Raja as saying.

“Now, this England was expected but this is a lesson for us because we go out of our way to accommodate and pamper these sides when they visit. And when we go there, we undergo strict quarantines and we tolerate their admonishments, but there is a lesson in this. That is, that from now on we will only go as far as is in our interest,” he added.

Further talking about cricket in Pakistan, Raja said: “Our interest is that cricket will not stop in our country and if the cricket fraternity will not take care of each other then there’s no point to it. New Zealand, then England, now we have a West Indies series that can also be hit, and Australia who is already reconsidering. This – England, Australia, New Zealand – is all one block. Who can we complain to? We thought they were our own but they haven’t accepted us as theirs.”

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