English cricketers say Pakistan safe for England team visit

By: News Desk      Published: 01:02 PM, 14 Mar, 2020
English cricketers say Pakistan safe for England team visit

The England cricket team has not toured Pakistan since 2005 and English players who played Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 said the whole squad could be out there soon.

Speaking to Sky News, England's opening batsman Jason Roy, who represented Quetta Gladiators, said: "The main issue regarding coming over here was security, obviously.

"There's been a lot of talk about it in the media and people say a lot of things about it so of course that's going to be at the forefront of your mind, you're going to be a bit worried about that.

"But as far as that's all concerned, they've ticked every single box.

"There have not been any security concerns.

"It's been a bit crazy having the armoured trucks and the armoured buses and the security guards always around you, that's been an experience - but I haven't felt unsafe at any stage which is, I guess, a plus."

His England cricket teammate but PSL rival, Moeen Ali, said: "I'm sure we'll probably get asked when we're back about what it was like; the experience and security and all those questions. To be part of that is great.

"I think being current players for England, as well as people like Jason Roy and guys like that who've really enjoyed it, I think will play a big part in us coming with an England side or an Australia side which will be a huge stride going forward."

When asked whether he thought this would happen soon, he said: "I think so. I think it's going to take a little time, but hopefully we've done something to push it forward."

Ali, who is of Pakistani descent, was in Pakistan for the first time in 17 years. He's brought his family out for the whole tournament, and said the security has made them feel comfortable.

His thoughts were echoed by England batsman Alex Hales, who said: "As overseas players, we're trying to play our part in bringing international cricket back to Pakistan. We all understand how big cricket is in this country, now we've experienced it first-hand.

"It's just absolute mayhem, the people go ballistic for it here. So to play a part in bringing such an important part of this country's culture back to the country, we feel privileged to do that."

And Chris Jordan, England's fast bowler who played with Hales for Karachi Kings, said: "As a professional cricketer, you always want to challenge yourself in most environments.

"Playing cricket in Pakistan has a whole different feel. Obviously this is our profession and we want to experience any condition, every condition that we can, and Pakistan should be no different."

He added: "I don't see why we can't come here as an England squad in the next 18 to 24 months. At the end of the day, I'm here and I'm part of that England set-up. As long as everything is in place as it has been here, I can't see why that's not a possibility."

Wasim Khan, chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), said: "I think we've paid the price for what happened in 2009. We've paid the price dearly for that, financially and from a cricket perspective. We've been alienated from the cricketing world.

"We've lost a generation from not having cricket here and having stadiums being left empty. We've had to cover the cost as the PCB of those stadiums to keep the upkeep of those, very much based on the dream that international cricket would return one day, and we needed to be ready for that."

But Mr Khan knows that Pakistan only has one shot at proving to the rest of the world it can host international teams safely, with no security concerns.