According to British media reports, England’s first cricket tour of Pakistan in over 15 years, due to take place early in 2021, is to be postponed and move to October before the T20 World Cup in India. Reports claim that that England would not be able to send a strong enough squad, leading to the postponement of the said series. England are already scheduled to tour Sri Lanka and India at the start of 2021.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced in October that talks over a short, limited-overs tour were taking place which would be their first on Pakistani soil since 2005. The ECB are now considering a T20 tour of Pakistan in September or October as preparation for the 2021 T20 World Cup.
“The problem arising is that early next year England will be engaged in series with Sri Lanka and India and some of their T20 specialist players are also signed up for the Big Bash in Australia,” a source aware of the developments said. It is learnt that, England have not toured Pakistan since 2005-06 due to security concerns following the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore.
“The other problem is the costs involved in England touring Pakistan. As it is just a three-match series with Karachi the likely venue, the costs of flying the English team by a chartered flight after holding a training camp in Dubai does not make it cost effective for the England board,” the source said. Pakistan is also due to host South Africa early next year for two Tests and three T20 Internationals.
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Earlier this year, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram urged England to agree to a reciprocal tour of Pakistan after Azhar Ali’s men travelled for a Test series amid the coronavirus pandemic. “You boys owe Pakistan cricket, and the country, a lot, with the boys coming over here. They’ve been here almost two and half months in the bio-secure environment,” Akram told sports news portal.
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