Monday 20 September 2021 5:28 pm

England withdraw from World Cup warm-up tour games in Pakistan

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have withdrawn their men’s and women’s sides from the October tour to Pakistan.

The men were due to play two warm-up games prior to the T20 World Cup, which begins in late October.

England women were due to link up with the men and play two T20 double headers before going on to face Pakistan in three one-day internationals.

“The ECB Board convened this weekend to discuss these extra England Women’s and Men’s games in Pakistan and we can confirm that the Board has reluctantly decided to withdraw both teams from the October trip,” said the ECB in a statement.

“The mental and physical well-being of our players and support staff remains our highest priority and this is even more critical given the times we are currently living in.

“We know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region and believe that going ahead will add further pressure to a playing group who have already coped with a long period of operating in restricted Covid environments.”

The news comes after New Zealand, who were also due to tour the country, cancelled their plans on security grounds.

“We understand that this decision will be a significant disappointment to the PCB [Pakistan Cricket Board], who have worked tirelessly to host the return of international cricket in their country,” the ECB continued. “Their support of English and Welsh cricket over the last two summers has been a huge demonstration of friendship.

“We are sincerely sorry for the impact this will have on cricket in Pakistan and emphasise an ongoing commitment to our main touring plans there for 2022.”

The T20 World Cup begins on 17 October in the UAE and Oman and runs through until the final on 14 November. England finished runners-up in the competition when it was last hosted in 2016, losing to the West Indies in the final.