ECB to make decision on its planned tour to Pakistan

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LONDON: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Friday that it would make the decision on its planned tour to Pakistan in the next 24 to 48 hours, according to a spokesperson for the board.

The ECB announcement came soon after the sudden cancellation of the New Zealand cricket team's Pakistan tour due to security concerns. The Kiwis' decision was announced minutes before the first match was scheduled to start at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.

The ECB spokesperson said the board was aware of New Zealand's decision.

"We are liaising with our security team who are on the ground in Pakistan to fully understand the situation. The ECB will then decide in the next 24-48 hours whether our planned tour should proceed," the spokesperson said.

England men's and women's sides are due in Pakistan for a short two-match Twenty20 series next month.

While England men's team will be touring Pakistan after a 16-year break, the women’s squad, led by Heather Knight, will tour the country for the first time.

Both series were initially scheduled to be played in Karachi, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had decided to move the series to Rawalpindi due to operational and logistical reasons.

“The England men’s side will visit Pakistan in October for two Twenty20 internationals. Both matches will be played at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on October 13 and 14,” a PCB release had said.

The women's team is scheduled to play three One-day Internationals on Oct 17, 19 and 21 in Rawalpindi.

England last toured Pakistan in 2005. In 2012 and 2015, Pakistan had to host England in the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, speculations started doing the rounds on social media that England was involved in New Zealand's decision to cancel its tour.

Australian cricket journalist Dennis Freedman tweeted that "UK High Commission shared the threat with NZ." However, British High Commissioner Christian Turner said the speculation was "untrue".

"This was a decision for the New Zealand authorities & taken independently. I recognise that this is a sad day for cricket fans in [Pakistan] & around [the world] who were looking fwd to the series," he tweeted.
 

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