Michael Atherton, the former England player has lashed out at his board, the England Cricket Board (ECB) for their unjust decision towards Pakistan.
He has been bashing them out for the last many days since ECB on-screened abandoning women and men tours to Pakistan citing players’ mental and physical well-being.
Notably, ECB’s decision came a day after the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) called off their tour of Pakistan a few moments before the first ODI kick-started citing security threats that still have not been told to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
He earlier said that security reasons could have been understandable but citing COVID fatigue is out of understanding. He used the Pakistan tour of England last year as an example soon after the revival of international cricket in nations following the COVID outbreak across the world.
“If security advice is the reason for the cancellation, that would be totally understandable, but to cite Covid fatigue, effectively, is to have a short memory of what touring teams, not least Pakistan, went through in England last summer at the height of the pandemic, so helping to save the professional game from financial catastrophe.
“At the time of Pakistan’s arrival last year, Covid death rates in this country were the third highest in the world, more than 150 times the rate in Pakistan. Still, Pakistan came, keeping who knows how many professional cricketers and support staff in their jobs.”
Atherton added that England could not even pay back Pakistan for their well-doings.
“The sense of anger and betrayal in Pakistan is real and understandable. England have failed to repay the debt they owe to Pakistan.
Taking a hike at English players made available by the ECB for the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021), he says it suits when it is India but not in Pakistan. He finds it as a worrying sign and says ECB should reconsider their decision for sending its players to play IPL amidst the COVID surge.
“If, as an employer, they are so wary of bubble and cricket fatigue, surely they should take more interest in the players’ availability for the Indian Premier League? Now, of course, those who are playing in the tournament will be available for the knockout stages. It suits India and England, but not Pakistan, who have no direct stake, their players being still barred from the competition.
“The ECB’s silence is deafening. The board assumes it can put out a feeble, mealy-mouthed statement and hide behind it for good, saying nothing more. Pakistan’s cricketers, who spent two months in a biosecure bubble here last summer to help save the game from financial catastrophe, their administrators, who have done so much to get cricket back to that country, and supporters deserve better. The game in this country deserves better.”
ECB wants the story to disappear: Michael Atherton
According to Michael Atherton, ECB wants the story to disappear as the board’s chairman is yet to make a statement on the synopsis. It has been five days since the critics anticipate an official response over Pakistan’s tour calling off from him.
“Pulling out of a commitment to touring, especially to Pakistan given their recent history of playing cricket in exile, is a serious business and demands a serious response. The ECB wants the story to disappear but the only thing that has disappeared has been its chairman. Watmore has been silent for five days since the cancellation was announced — one day longer than the proposed tour to Pakistan was due to last.”
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