LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has agreed “in principle” to tour England in July after a detailed meeting through video link was held with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday, according to the board’s chief executive, Wasim Khan.
England are scheduled to host Pakistan for three Tests from July 30, followed by three Twenty20 internationals, but with the UK struggling to contain Covid-19, Khan had said earlier this week that the PCB would wait a few more weeks before confirming a decision.
“We had a very detailed and comprehensive discussion with the ECB on Friday regarding the tour and PCB has now agreed in principle to send our cricket team to England in July,” Khan told media.
The PCB chief executive said he will brief Test captain Azhar Ali and ODI and T20 captain Babar Azam on the tour next week, adding that all of the players will be briefed fully on England’s preparations for the tour.
Reiterating his remarks from earlier this week when he assured the nation that players’ health and safety will be kept as first priority before any decision on the tour is finalised, Khan said there will be no compromise on the matter and that players will not be forced to travel if they do not want to.
“If a player doesn’t want to go, we will accept their decision and take no disciplinary action,” Khan said, adding, however, that based on his information, every player wants to join the tour.
According to Khan, the PCB will seek permission from the government before making the final announcement.
Sharing the initial plan regarding the tour, Khan said 25 players will travel to England on four chartered flights in the first week of July and that the series will be played behind closed doors after the players have completed their quarantine periods.
“Manchester and Southampton will be the likely venues for the Test series and the ECB will announce a third venue soon,” Khan said.
“Biosecurity arrangements will be made by the host country and medical staff will remain with our team throughout the tour. We will test all our players and regular temperature checks will be ensured. It’s very important that cricket is revived during these challenging times,” he added.
In his remarks, the PBC chief executive also said he is hopeful that both the English and Australian cricket teams will tour Pakistan in 2022.