Another British journalist has slammed the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for cancelling the tour of English men’s and women’s cricket teams to Pakistan.
On Monday, the ECB had called the upcoming tour off citing the “mental and physical well-being” of the players. The decision had come days after New Zealand had pulled its team out of Pakistan at the last minute ahead of its series due to supposed “security” concerns.
Speaking to Sky News, journalist and author Peter Oborne said the “English Cricket’s security assessment [of Pakistan] was unchanged and [the country] was judged to be safe.”
“The British High Commission was happy with the [security situation],” he said, adding that despite the events going on in Afghanistan, the security advice said it was okay to travel to Pakistan.
He questioned why the Chairman of the ECB, Ian Watmore, hadn’t come forward to present a justification for the cancellation of the tour.
“Can you ask invisible Ian to come on to Sky TV and justify his decision? Because it stinks!” Oborne angrily said.
When asked why, in his opinion, the ECB made the decision to cancel the tour, Oborne went on to say that the board members are “pusillanimous, they are afraid of the players, and they are keeping in with the Indians — particularly the Indian Premier League.”
He added: “One notices that Eoin Morgan, the English cricket captain, who pulled out of the Bangladesh tour [in 2016], is playing in the IPL.”
“It smells to me — I can’t tell this as a matter of fact — but we need to know this is player power and a craven, pusillanimous, cowardly board, prepared to kick one of our closest cricketing allies, to whom we owe an enormous debt of gratitude and honour,” Oborne said while lambasting the ECB.
Prior to Oborne, veteran cricket journalist George Dobell had taken the ECB to the cleaners for cancelling its tour to Pakistan and had called it out on its “hypocrisy.”
In a piece written for ESPNcricinfo, Dobell pointed out how the law and order situation in the UK itself broke down a few days before the ICC Champions Trophy clash between India and Pakistan in 2017.
He was referring to a terrorist incident on London Bridge when a van was driven into pedestrians and the occupants of the van jumped out, going about on a stabbing spree. That venue, as Dobell pointed out, was about two miles from the venue for the tournament’s final, at The Oval. Eleven people died, and 48 more were injured.
“But the next day, the game in Birmingham – about 110 miles northwest of London – went ahead. Indeed, every game in the tournament went ahead. Despite an obvious increase in security measures – including roadblocks hundreds of yards from grounds and armed police at matches – none of the teams went home and every match was completed.
“At the time, many of us celebrated the defiant spirit that refused to be bowed by threats,” he wrote.
He said that if life should be allowed to go on in Leicester and London, the same should be done for “Lahore and Larkana.”
He said that ECB’s walking away from the Pakistan tour proved that it “was a culture of double standards which appears to view some nations are far less important than others.”
Akin to Oborne and Dobell, renowned broadcaster Ebony Jewel Rainford Brent termed the ECB’s decision to cancel its Pakistan tour “disappointing” and said that the board’s statement regarding the cancellation of the tour has “nothing to do with security issues or concerns.”
“It [England] screams of a team that has more power than the other side and have made a decision, not thinking about the impact,” she said, adding that “disappointment is the word that comes to my mind after looking at the statement issued by the ECB for the cancellation of its tour.”