The chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Ian Watmore, broke his silence on the cancellation of the Pakistan tour on Wednesday, saying the board decided to suspend the series “on its own judgment.”

Concerns about the mental and physical well-being of the players and support personnel forced England to postpone their two Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) on the 13th and 14th of October. The women’s cricket team was also scheduled to play two Twenty20 Internationals and three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) at Rawalpindi from October 13 to 21.

“I’m deeply sorry to anyone who has been hurt or disappointed by our choice, particularly those in Pakistan,” Watmore said in an interview with the Daily Mail. He emphasized that the choice was made with the welfare and mental health of our athletes and staff as the paramount priority.

In addition, Watmore stated that the ECB is looking forward to a proper tour of Pakistan in the coming year. His final words were, “We’ve made a commitment to a proper tour, and we’ll have more time to arrange that journey.”

Ian Watmore stated in his first public comments following the cancellation of the series that the ECB did not communicate with the players before deciding to cancel the series.

Watmore defended his decision by claiming that he had no way of knowing that the United States would withdraw from Afghanistan and that New Zealand would pull out of the series at the last minute when he committed to the tour.

The vice president continued, “I’m not sure if you can read President Biden’s thoughts, but I had no idea he was planning to evacuate Afghanistan or that New Zealand would back out of their tour while they were still effectively warming up on the pitch.”

Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s Information Minister, expressed delight at the European Central Bank’s decision to visit the country for a complete tour next year.

“The announcement that the England Cricket Board (ECB) would visit Pakistan next year is a positive development, and I would like to express my gratitude to the stars of the cricket world, the diplomatic community, the media, and cricket fans throughout the world for their support for Pakistan cricket. Pakistan has once again proven to be a strong and resilient nation “He sent out a tweet.

Earlier, PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja stated that the ECB chairman has committed to touring Pakistan next year following the ECB’s decision to withdraw from the series in 2021.

According to him, when Raja inquired whether the scenario would alter again next year and whether England would opt out of the upcoming series based on the grounds of players’ mental well-being and security, Watmore failed to provide a satisfactory response to him.

Last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his displeasure with the England Cricket Board’s decision to cancel the visit. It was reported in the British newspaper The Times that the British prime minister and top ministers of the Commonwealth Office had stated that the decision “had harmed relations between the United Kingdom and Pakistan’s government.”

Recently, Pakistan experienced a big setback when the New Zealand cricket team announced that they would be abandoning their highly anticipated tour of Pakistan minutes before the toss for the first One-day International (ODI) match due to a “security threat.” Following that, the England Cricket Board (ECB) also canceled.

This incident projected a highly unfavorable picture of Pakistan, portraying it as a dangerous place full of dangers. Now that Pakistan has accepted the apology, the country has demonstrated its goodwill and soft image.

But was this whole matter planned or it was as simple as shown. Were the earlier claims that it’s a plan of Five eyes (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States) true or not?

By Sawera Amjad

Author is a Lahore College for Women University graduate. She writes with zeal and believes that there is nothing greater than words to express herself.

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