UK PM Boris Johnson 'angry' with ECB after Pakistan tour abandoned

September 23, 2021

UK ministers believe that decision to abandon tour has damaged the relations between the two countries

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a coronavirus pandemic media briefing at Downing Street, London, on February 15, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Stefan Rousseau

KARACHI: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was “urged to go ahead as planned” for the Pakistan tour by the UK government officials, according to a report by The Times.

The report, published on Thursday, mentioned that the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, is also "angry" with the ECB over the decision to abandon the Pakistan tour, while ministers believe that the decision has "damaged the relations between the two countries."

“There were consultations between the ECB and officials from No 10, the Foreign Office and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport before announcing the cancellation of the tour in which the governing body was urged to go ahead as planned,” The Times reported.

“The subsequent decision to ignore those pleas and cancel the tour on the grounds of the physical and mental wellbeing of the players has enraged ministers. They believe it has damaged the work being done to improve relations between the UK and Pakistan at a time when they are particularly important,” it added.

The report also mentioned that PM Johnson is understood to be “angry over the ECB’s decision” to cancel the men’s and women’s white-ball tour to Pakistan next month stating that the prime minister and senior ministers within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office believe that the decision has damaged relations between the UK and the Pakistan government.

The Times report also hinted that ECB was keen on trying to find a way for the tour to go ahead but it was an intervention from the Team England Player Partnership (TEPP) — a unit within the players’ union that represents England’s centrally contracted players — that stopped the tour.

It also highlighted the fact that TEPP represents only contracted players which would have allowed the ECB to explore the idea of taking a team of county cricketers.

“But it is understood this option was not explored,” the report said.

The report also mentioned that the ECB took the decision that the short tour to Pakistan “was not the battle it wanted to have with the players’ representatives.”

“In calling off the tour to Pakistan, the ECB can turn its attention to making sure that the Ashes takes place as planned,” the report stated.

England, New Zealand cancel Pakistan tour

Pakistan cricket suffered another great setback last week when England cancelled its Pakistan tour after New Zealand pulled out earlier.

Expressing regret, the ECB had said, "We understand that this decision will be a significant disappointment to the PCB", who have worked tirelessly to host the return of international cricket in their country.

On September 17, moments before the ODI series opener at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) board backed out of the much-awaited tour, citing a supposed "security alert" from their government.

The Pakistani authorities assured the team of complete security, but it insisted on calling off the series.

The PCB had said that New Zealand Cricket's decision to pull their players from the series was a "unilateral" decision taken by the Kiwis without consulting the PCB.

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