Tom Harrison meets Ramiz Raja on bridge-building visit to Pakistan after October pull-outs
England’s men will play two additional T20Is on their tour of Pakistan in September and October 2022, in compensation for the late cancellation of last month’s planned visit, following a meeting between ECB and PCB officials in Lahore on Tuesday.
The ECB were roundly condemned for their withdrawal, citing concerns about the bubble fatigue among the England players, even though the tour had been planned as a four-day detour en route to the T20 World Cup in the UAE.
The decision followed swiftly on from New Zealand’s cancellation on the morning of their first ODI in Rawalpindi due to a security threat. That led Ramiz to warn that the PCB would be making contingency plans in the event of England cancelling their multi-format tour in 2022-23, which is also due to feature a three-Test series in November and December, in the aftermath of the T20 World Cup in Australia.
Now, however, Harrison has pledged not only that those matches will go ahead as planned, but that the T20I leg will be extended from five matches to seven, in a gesture to thank Pakistan for their support of English cricket during the 2020 season, when they had agreed to a full tour in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Myself and ECB’s Senior Director Martin Darlow visited Lahore to talk face-to-face with the PCB around some of the things that have happened over the past few weeks, leading to the cancellation of our tour in October,” Harrison said in a statement.
“We also wanted to discuss the future as the two boards have a historic relationship and want to move the agenda towards a forward-looking one as opposed to one looking back.
“This is just to reaffirm our commitment to Pakistan cricket to getting England teams, men’s and women’s teams, eventually playing in Pakistan at home.
“I don’t think there’s a cricketer in England who doesn’t want to test their abilities against the huge talent this country has and in the conditions they know best.”
Ramiz added that the ECB had shown “large-heartedness” to make the trip, and welcomed England’s commitment to the tour, which follows Australia’s confirmation of their own tour in March, which will be their first visit since 1998.
“We put in lot of efforts to make sure that all visiting teams are comfortable in Pakistan,” Ramiz said. “As such, it is a matter of pride for the Pakistan fans, who look forward to welcoming Australia and England in 2022.
“England have got a great team and it’s mind-boggling how they’ve produced so many match-winners in a span of about five to seven years. They play very engaging and attractive cricket, which is fantastic for the fans and a big advertisement of the game.”
England’s women had originally been scheduled to join last month’s tour for a pair of double-headers in Rawalpindi ahead of their own ODI series. Those fixtures have not yet been reallocated, although Ramiz added that proposals surrounding “pathway engagement” and the women’s game had also been discussed with the ECB.