ECB Chairman Ian Watmore has apologized to the Pakistani nation and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on the last month’s abandonment of the men’s and women’s team tour of Pakistan citing player’s well-being just a few days after New Zealand rashly abandoned their tour of Pakistan. The Chairman has also promised to do everything to travel to Pakistan as he admitted that the relationship between the two boards ought to be rebuilt in his first public comments after England’s withdrawal.
In an interview, Watmore said that security was a factor but the player well-being was ECB’s primary consideration adding that he apologizes to anyone who was hurt or let down by ECB’s decision, particularly in Pakistan, adding that the decision that ECB took was a very difficult one and that they regret the decision.
Watmore said, “We need to rebuild our relationship with Pakistan and will refocus on going there in 2022. This wasn’t the right time. Obviously, we’re extremely grateful to Pakistan for coming here last year and we will do everything we can to deliver the scheduled tour next year.”
The ECB’s Chairman added, “I won’t go into details, but we received advice on security and player welfare and took the decision we made. We had to make it quickly because of the short term to the World Cup and the New Zealand exodus from Pakistan. They were all factors, but the primary consideration was the welfare of the players.”
Watmore also confirmed that the decision was not made by the players and that no wider consultations were held. He said, “The board took the decision based on its own judgments and it didn’t go out to wider consultation. Had we decided to go forward with the tour, we’d have had to put the proposals to TEPP (the body that represents England players) and the PCA, but it didn’t reach that point.”
Earlier in a tweet on Wednesday, the Minister for Information and Broadcast Fawad Chaudhry praised the efforts of the international cricketers, Pakistan’s diplomatic staff, and media for supporting Pakistan’s cricket in a tough situation. The minister also appreciated the apology offered by the English Cricket Board for the cancellation of the tour to Pakistan.
“Announcement of ECB to visit Pakistan next year is a welcome step, I would like to thank stars of the cricket world, the diplomatic community, Media And Cricket lovers around the world on their support for Pakistan Cricket, yet again Pak has emerged as a strong and resilient nation,” said Fawad Chaudhry.
Earlier on Monday the Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad had exposed the Indian connection in the threatening emails sent to New Zealand that led to the cancellation of the tour at the eleventh hour.
Rashid said that the government was in contact with Interpol on the threatening emails sent to the New Zealand cricket team that resulted in the cancellation of its tour to Pakistan adding that Interpol had been contacted to probe into 12 emails sent to the team and their “India-Singapore” links.