Mike Atherton lashes out at ECB for ‘failing to repay their debt’ to PCB
Former England cricketer, Mike Atherton has criticized England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for their decision to cancel the men’s and women’s cricket team tour to Pakistan.
England men’s cricket team was scheduled to tour Pakistan after 16 years for two T20Is on 14th and 15th October, whereas the women’s team was scheduled to play two T20Is and as many ODIs.
However, following the unexpected withdrawal by New Zealand, the ECB also withdrew their tour, citing players’ mental fatigue and tiredness from ‘restricted COVID-19 environments’
This decision attracted a sharp reaction, not only from Pakistan but also from former England players.
Mike Atherton came forward in support of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and said, “England have failed to repay their debt – they owe to Pakistan.”
He added that security advice could have been a better excuse by ECB to pull out the tour citing COVID fatigue reflects ECB’s fragile memory.
He also said that Pakistan went out of the way to tour England at the height of the pandemic only to save the professional game from financial catastrophe.
Mike Atherton said, “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.”
He conceded that Pakistan has every right to be angry over ECB’s betrayal.
He said, “The sense of anger and betrayal in Pakistan is real and understandable. Ramiz Raja, the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, is a former cricketer rather than an administrator, and therefore, talks a player’s language. He has been refreshingly blunt and has talked of learning a harsh lesson where England are concerned.”
Mike said that the PCB is making contingency plans around England’s planned tour next year.
He said, “They do not expect England to travel, despite the commitment, and have lost any trust and faith in them. It is hard to blame them,”
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