London: England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday announced that they have withdrawn from the Pakistan tour in October.
Earlier this year, ECB had agreed to play two additional T20 World Cup warm-up games in Pakistan in October, adding a short women's tour with double headers alongside the men's games.
Official Statement from the ECB Board state: "The ECB has a longstanding commitment to tour Pakistan as part of the Men's Future Tours Programme in 2022. The ECB Board convened this weekend to discuss these extra England Women's and Men's games in Pakistan and we can confirm that the Board has reluctantly decided to withdraw both teams from the October trip."
As per the statement, the mental and physical well-being of England's players and support staff remains the highest priority of ECB. "We know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region and believe that going ahead will add further pressure to a playing group who have already coped with a long period of operating in restricted Covid environments."
"There is the added complexity for our Men's T20 squad. We believe that touring under these conditions will not be ideal preparation for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, where performing well remains a top priority for 2021," the statement added.
"We understand that this decision will be a significant disappointment to the PCB, who have worked tirelessly to host the return of international cricket in their country. Their support of English and Welsh cricket over the last two summers has been a huge demonstration of friendship. We are sincerely sorry for the impact this will have on cricket in Pakistan and emphasise an ongoing commitment to our main touring plans there for 2022."