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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Pakistan in no rush to tour England

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MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will not rush into a decision on its next tour of England in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, said managing director Wasim Khan.

England to host South Asia for three tests from July 30, followed by three Twenty20 internationals, but the UK is struggling to contain COVID-19, Wasim said they will wait a few weeks before to confirm a decision.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has already stated that the sport will not resume until July, although it is likely to be in stadiums without supporters.

“Health and safety is paramount to our players and officials and we are not going to compromise,” Wasim told reporters on Monday.

“The situation in England is bad right now, and we are going to ask them about their plans. We don’t make any decisions, but we will assess and decide within the next three to four weeks.

“It is not an easy situation, and it is not an easy decision to make, because things are changing every day in England.

“There are so many things to consider – flights, hotels and they’re talking about biosecurity stages … so if people ask me, I’ll tell them to wait and be patient.”

PCB leaders, as well as coach Misbah-ul-Haq, are expected to discuss the arrangements with their ECB counterparts on Friday via video conference.

Test cricket returned to Pakistan after a decade with a two-game streak against Sri Lanka in December. The series marked Pakistan’s first tests on its territory since a militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009.

The world’s biggest teams have been hesitant to return to Pakistan, although England is slated for next year while Australia is expected to surrender in 2022.

Wasim said the PCB would not make a visit to England a prerequisite for traveling to the UK for the next series.

“It’s a difficult situation for everyone right now, and I don’t think it’s fair to take advantage of the situation,” said Khan, adding that he hoped England and Australia would come in Pakistan.

“The most important thing for us is to relaunch the game for all countries. Otherwise, we will have a lot of problems in the future.

“The next 12 months will be difficult for cricket financially … fortunately, the PCB is good for the next 12 months but thereafter, in 18 months, we will also have problems. Hopefully by then, cricket will resume . ”

Report by Sudipto Ganguly; edited by Peter Rutherford

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