The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday said it has "reluctantly" decided to withdraw from their October tour to Pakistan amid "increasing concerns about travelling to the region". England's men and women teams were both scheduled to travel to the Asian country for a limited-over series, however, the ECB has decided to withdraw.
"The mental and physical well-being of our players and support staff remains our highest priority and this is even more critical given the times we are currently living in. We know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region and believe that going ahead will add further pressure to a playing group who have already coped with a long period of operating in restricted Covid environments," the ECB said in a statement.
"There is the added complexity for our Men's T20 squad. We believe that touring under these conditions will not be ideal preparation for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, where performing well remains a top priority for 2021," it added.
The ECB further said it understands that this decision will be a significant disappointment to the PCB, who have worked tirelessly to host the return of international cricket in their country. "Their support of English and Welsh cricket over the last two summers has been a huge demonstration of friendship. We are sincerely sorry for the impact this will have on cricket in Pakistan and emphasise an ongoing commitment to our main touring plans there for 2022," the statement read.
This comes after New Zealand abandoned their tour citing security threat. , On Septemeber 17, the Blackcaps decided to end the tour following a New Zealand government security alert, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) informed. They was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003. The side was to play hosts on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.
Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had said that the New Zealand tour was cancelled under an "international conspiracy". Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the Interior Minister said that he will not name the conspirators, however, he added that some forces want to make Pakistan a scapegoat after what has been happening in Afghanistan.