London: England on Monday called off next month's men's and women's tours of Pakistan, three days after New Zealand abandoned their white-ball series in the South Asian country over security concerns.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) arrived at the decision to withdraw after deliberating over the weekend, pulling out of what would have been the country's first tour of Pakistan since 2005.
"The ECB Board convened this weekend to discuss these extra England Women's and Men's games in Pakistan and we can confirm that the Board has reluctantly decided to withdraw both teams from the October trip," the ECB said in a statement.
It added, "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."
ECB's decision to cancel the Pakistan tour has dealt a massive blow to the country's busiest home season in nearly two decades. In a video message released by the PCB on Tuesday, Ramiz said, "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. 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," added Ramiz.
(With inputs from agencies)
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