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APP
October 17, 2020

PCB CEO confirms inviting England for T20Is in January

Sports

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APP
October 17, 2020

LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has invited England for three T20I in January 2021, just before the two Test and three T20I against South Africa, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) confirmed on Friday.

The tour, which is subject to Covid-19 situation as well as security clearance, will likely take place from January 13 to 20, Wasim Khan told APP here in an exclusive interview.

The dates and venues will only be discussed and confirmed after the England Wales Cricket Board (ECB) gives their go-ahead to the tour.

“I sent an invitation to the ECB early this week on Monday following various discussions with their chief executive Tom Harrison. The ECB will now follow their standard pre-tour protocols, including assessment of the Covid-19 situation, player availability and security clearance before informing us of their decision,” Wasim said.

“But I am encouraged and feel optimistic with the responses I have been receiving from London and I remain confident that Pakistan will be able to host England for a short tour, which will set the stage for a full tour in 2022,” he added.

The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed that they had received an invitation for a short white-ball tour to Pakistan during the early part of 2021.

England Test captain Joe Root had expressed his desire to tour Pakistan at the end of the drawn second Test at Southampton in August. “I’d love to go and visit Pakistan. It would be a great opportunity to go and play there,” he said.

Earlier this week, British Airways resumed their flights to Lahore for the first time in 44 years. They had earlier suspended their operation to Islamabad in June due to Covid-19, but revived in August.

England last toured Pakistan in 2005 under Michael Vaughan, but the 2012 and 2015 series were played in the United Arab Emirates. If the three-T20 tour goes ahead, it will all but confirm England’s full tour in 2022 for three Tests and three ODIs.

Thirteen England players, led by Moeen Ali, featured in the Pakistan Super League 2020, which was staged in Pakistan in its entirety for the first time since its inception in 2016. The other 12 Englishmen to spend nearly five weeks in Pakistan were Tom Banton, Ravi Bopara, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dan Lawrence, Liam Livingston, Samit Patel, Liam Plunkett, Jason Roy, Phil Salt and James Vince.

Earlier this summer, Wasim Khan was severely criticised for his decision to send the Pakistan squad to England for a scheduled FTP tour. However, he stood firm on his decision, repeatedly emphasising that cricket and Covid would have to co-exist for some time.

The PCB CEO said that that was absolutely the right thing to do. “We wanted our cricketers to play cricket, provide entertainment to the home-restricted fans and show solidarity with the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“I had insisted then and reiterated again that we had not set any pre-tour conditions as our first priority was always to get cricket back on. During my time over in England in the summer, I tentatively spoke about a short-white ball tour. Following further discussions over the last couple of months, a formal invitation was sent to the ECB on 12 October,” he said.

“I am pleased that although we are yet to cross the line, there is a real willingness to make this work, which would be great news for global cricket as well as for Pakistan cricket fans all over the world,” Wasim Khan said.