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England players' body says didn't give any input in Pakistan pullout; PCB surprised by revelation

New Zealand abandoned and England pulled out of scheduled assignments in Pakistan in quick succession citing security concerns.   

PTI PTI
Karachi Published on: September 24, 2021 19:01 IST
Pakistan Cricket Board
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Pakistan Cricket Board.

England cricket's player's body has claimed that its inputs were not sought by the country's Board when it decided to call off the tour of Pakistan, a revelation that has come as a "surprise" to the PCB.

New Zealand abandoned and England pulled out of scheduled assignments in Pakistan in quick succession citing security concerns. England also gave players' mental health as a reason for the withdrawal.

Team England Player Partnership (TEPP), a body formed in 2001 "to look after the needs of professional England cricketers and work closely with the ECB to ensure that their rights are protected", issued a statement to say that it had no role in the pullout.

"At no stage has the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) ever asked Team England Player Partnership or the teams, men and women, whether the tour should go ahead or whether players were prepared to tour Pakistan," a TEPP spokesperson was quoted as saying by British media.

"At no stage has Team England Player Partnership informed the ECB that the players would not be touring. The ECB board met last Sunday to debate the tour to Pakistan.

"That afternoon we were informed the tour had been cancelled. Team England Player Partnership was not asked for our input and we were not involved in the decision to cancel the tour," the spokesperson added.

This has surprised the Pakistan Cricket Board hierarchy because the ECB clearly gave the impression that it called off the tour taking into account the player's mental welfare and well-being.

"Amazing that is what this situation is. Rest assured we will be taking up this matter with the ECB in light of this clarification from the player's body," one board official said.

PCB's Chairman Ramiz Raja has been on the warpath ever since New Zealand abruptly abandoned its tour and returned home and one day later the ECB announced it was not sending its men's and Women's teams for short tours next month.

A reliable source in the board said that Raja, after speaking to the patron in chief of the PCB, prime minister Imran Khan, has been busy consulting legal experts about the next line of action when the International Cricket Council

(ICC) Executive Board meets during the T20 World Cup next month.

"Pakistan is studying all legal resources it can take to demand compensation from the two boards," the source said.

Raja and the Pakistan World Cup squad members were invited for a chat by Imran Khan earlier this week and the premier had urged the players to play fearless cricket during the World Cup, saying that they should seek revenge with their performance after cancellation of two major tours.

"Pakistan is a safe country. You should focus on improving your performances... God willing, Pakistan will host international cricket soon," the Pakistan PM was quoted as saying to the players.

Imran apparently asked the team to perform like "cornered tigers" and also urged captain Babar Azam to lead from the front as Pakistan needed to make a point at the World Cup.

"Ramiz and CEO Wasim Khan, who will go for the ICC meeting, will be taking a hard stance in the board and it has been decided to push other boards to have a clear policy on security issues while finalising bilateral tours specially with Pakistan," the source said.

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