Pakistan eager to tour England to help game during pandemic: PCB CEO
PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said on Thursday that Pakistan were eager to tour England this summer to help the game in its dire times.
All the sports activities around the globe have come to a standstill since the outbreak of coronavirus outbreak and different countries and sports are now flexing their muscles to go back on the field to give the fans something to cheer about.
He also clarified that any Pakistan tour of England this summer would not be carried out with the intention of forcing a reciprocal tour in 2022.
England haven't toured Pakistan since 2005 due to security concerns and, following a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009, Pakistan's home matches have mostly been held in the United Arab Emirates.
Cricket is beginning to return to Pakistan, however, with Sri Lanka and West Indies among the teams to have toured in recent years, while the Pakistan Super League T20 tournament has also been held at home. But, speaking on Sky Sports' The Cricket Show, Khan said discussions over a Pakistan tour of England this summer was "not the time to try and leverage anything" in terms of any possible return trip.
"There is a lot of cricket to be played between now and 2022," said Khan. "I've had that question raised a few times; has there been a deal cut? Is something going to happen? But the simple fact is - and it's a genuine answer - we need to get cricket back on again and now is probably not the time to try and leverage anything. Naturally, things will take their course over the next two years.
"We've got a lot of home series between now and then, which hopefully will all go successfully, and we'll give more confidence to the likes of Australia and England, who are due to tour in 2022. But this is about getting cricket back on again. The cricketers want to play and I think it's important for the global game as well that we start to bring a level of normalcy to playing cricket again - whatever that may look like - over the next six to 12 months."
Pakistan are scheduled to play England in three Tests and three T20 internationals this summer, following on the back of a planned West Indies tour in July. Though discussions are still taking place with the ECB about how any tour would work, Khan said Pakistan's players were 'chomping at the bit' at the prospect.
"We need a 14-day quarantine period when we get to England and enough time to practice for the guys so they can be ready," said Khan. "That's a bit of a challenge, so we're looking at an extended squad. We're looking at bringing around 25 players - more than normal. We were really pleased with everything we heard from the ECB, in terms of all the provisions they are putting in place. The players are chomping at the bit; we're very much looking forward to touring."
Former England captain and Sky Sports Cricket pundit Mike Atherton is also hopeful of a Pakistan tour this summer, as well as a return series being scheduled.
"I think Pakistan will be watching what happens with West Indies very carefully," Atherton added.