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The withdrawal of England’s men and women - with bubble fatigue cited as the reason - came just three days after New Zealand’s government advised their men’s team to come home from Pakistan due to a terror threat.
England’s men and women were due in Pakistan for two T20 double-headers on October 13 and 14. The women – who have never previously toured the country - were due to stay on for five ODIs.
The statement announcing the decision was at pains to say it was not a security decision, but to do with players’ mental health.
England’s men - who have not visited the country since 2005 - are due to tour Pakistan for red- and white-ball cricket in 2022, with this short trip scheduled as a show of gratitude for Pakistan men’s two trips to the UK since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
England’s withdrawal has left them wide open to accusations of hypocrisy. Ramiz Raja, the former Pakistan batsman, commentator and new chair of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), was swift and aggressive in his criticism of England, saying they were “failing a member of their cricket fraternity when it needed it most”.
Disappointed, yet again. We have always tried to accommodate the interests of the game but others simply don't. We have come a long way in our cricketing journey and it will only get better with time. We will not only survive but thrive as well. In shaa'Allah. 🇵🇰❤️🏏
— Babar Azam (@babarazam258) September 21, 2021
Babar joined him on Twitter on Tuesday, saying: “Disappointed, yet again. We have always tried to accommodate the interests of the game but others simply don't. We have come a long way in our cricketing journey and it will only get better with time. We will not only survive but thrive as well.”
Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted on Tuesday that lawyers will be consulted to take action against New Zealand and England for the money lost in TV revenue from the withdrawals.