Former England skipper, Michael Atherton has slammed the England Cricket Board (ECB) for cancelling the national team’s tour of Pakistan. Next month, England’s men’s and women’s sides will play 2 T20I games in Rawalpindi. Unfortunately, on September 20, ECB announced that the tour would be cancelled due to the player’s physical and mental considerations. The English board’s move came just a few days after New Zealand’s white-ball series versus Pakistan was called off.
Many fans and professionals are dissatisfied with the ECB’s choice and justification for the cancellation. After all, numerous England players are now competing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 in the United Arab Emirates. Atherton is also dissatisfied with the ECB’s attitude, which he compares to India’s recent departure from the Manchester Test.
ECB has washed its hands of its player’s travel and commitments: Michael Atherton
Atherton opposed the ECB’s decision to enable its players to participate in a quarter IPL 2021 leg in the UAE rather than a brief white-ball series versus the Men in Green.
“Citing player welfare is strange when the ECB has essentially washed its hands of its players’ travel and cricketing commitments for three months of the year so that they can play in the Indian Premier League,” said Michael Atherton.
“If, as an employer, it is so wary of bubble and cricket fatigue, surely it should take more interest in the players’ availability for the IPL? Now, of course, those who are playing in the [IPL] tournament will be available for the knockout stages. It suits India and England, but not Pakistan, who have no direct stake, their players being barred still from the competition” the 53-year-old added.
Atherton have had appeared in 115-Test and 54-ODI in his career, who went on to criticize the ECB’s decision, calling it unjustifiable. “This decision is worse than England’s withdrawal from South Africa last winter and India’s cancellation of the Manchester Test this month. While both those actions were hard to justify, they were at least understandable given Covid had come into close proximity to both [the] teams,” he asserted.
However, England’s men’s squad will travel to Pakistan in November and December 2022 for 3 Tests and 5 One-Day Internationals. As a result, it will be fascinating to observe if the tour proceeds as planned or if any problems arise.