In an interview with ARY News hosted by Kashif Abbasi, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner has clarified that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) cancelled the English team’s tour of Pakistan due to the concerns shared by a group of players rather than any security issue.
“It was about players’ welfare, it was not about the security,” the high commissioner said.
Even the ECB in its statement said that it was not about the security but about the players: their welfare and pressure on them as they approach the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, he emphasised.
“Do you feel secure sitting in the studio?,” asked Kashif Abbasi as Turner responded in affirmation. Turner further said that they all were very sad and frustrated by the development.
Turner has assured that there is no security block or advise from the High Commission regarding the cancellation of the tour.
He told ARY News: “No one has worked harder than me despite my difference with the PCB, to make this (tour) happen […..] I need to really be clear on; this was not about the security. The British High Commission did not advise against this tour on security grounds my security advice has [also] not changed.”
It is the decision of the ECB to cancel the tour which is independent to the government of the United Kingdom, he declared.
Commenting on the next England’s tour of Pakistan scheduled in 2022, Turner declared that as of now he didn’t see any reason for that not to happen. “[In this regard] You have my commitment: I will do everything I can to work with the PCB and the ECB,” Turner vowed his support for restoring international cricket in Pakistan.
The anchorperson mentioned that how Pakistan toured the pandemic-hit England when they needed badly them but when it came to return the favour, they actually called it off.
Responding to the host, Turner said he uphold the Pakistan’s argument in the case but he was not there to speak for the ECB, which he asserted, is an independent body.
“This has happened. We must regroup. I don’t recognise that there is wider politics or conspiracy in this; this is about a group of players [and] you can’t force the players for playing in the end,” he explained.
England on Monday withdrew form their upcoming tour of Pakistan, following New Zealand.
The development came as shock for Pakistani cricketing circles as the country took a decade to recover from what it had experienced after 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.
England was supposed to tour Pakistan after 15 years. Last time, the English players travelled to Pakistan in 2005, to play series based on Test matches and One-Day Internationals (ODIs).