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Pakistan has saved the ECB millions. Now England is paying them back by withdrawing from the T20 series

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It’s easy to understand the anger at England’s refusal to spend just four days in Pakistan next month to play against two Twenty20 internationals in what was supposed to be a goodwill trip.

After all, England would thank Pakistan for playing such a big part in saving the domestic game last year as they traveled for a series of three tests at the height of the UK’s pre-vaccination pandemic.

Instead, the overwhelming impression created by this week’s withdrawal is that England wants other countries to help them in their hour of need, but will do very little in return. Unless, of course, a lot of money is involved.

It’s easy to understand Pakistan’s anger at England for refusing to play next month’s T20 series

No one would have argued that England raised security concerns in the wake of New Zealand’s withdrawal on the morning of their scheduled first one-day international in Rawalpindi last week over a ‘credible’ threat from their team.

England is advised by the same highly respected security expert as New Zealand, Reg Dickason, and, as Sportsmail revealed last week, the Kiwis acted on information from the Five Eye operation advising both New Zealand and the UK. It would have been an easy and justified leap for the ECB to tie the two together and pull the plug.

But it was a statement that seemed to blame more on the fear a trip to Pakistan might instill in players after all the time spent in Covid environments, than on any security concerns in Pakistan that sparked and reeked of credulity. to hypocrisy.

Pakistan has saved ECB millions by playing at the height of the pandemic, and this is how they are paying them back

Pakistan has saved ECB millions by playing at the height of the pandemic, and this is how they are paying them back

Remember that all that would have been asked of the players was to spend two days less in Pakistan than the six-day quarantine period required for those traveling to the UAE for the resumption of the IPL. Funnily enough, no one seemed to have a problem with that.

What a coincidence that English players at the IPL, including captain Eoin Morgan, can now stay in the UAE for the full duration of the tournament after the ECB has canceled trips to Bangladesh and Pakistan that collided with it.

Speaking of hardships, those Pakistani players who saved millions of pounds in broadcast revenue for the ECB by coming here last summer could point to weeks at a time quarantined in the barely luxurious surroundings of the Travelodge. in Derby.

It is clear that if there were players concerned about the unstable situation in the region, they could have withdrawn from the trip to Pakistan without sanctions, just as Morgan and Alex Hales refused to go to Bangladesh in 2016.

The ECB has once again insulted our intelligence agency with their apologies for withdrawing from the tour

The ECB has once again insulted our intelligence agency with their apologies for withdrawing from the tour

And if the whole squad wanted out, England could certainly have found a competitive side willing to go, just as they could pick an all-new ODI squad this summer to, aptly, face Pakistan after a Covid outbreak. .

But no. Instead, Pakistan, a cricket country that has endured so much during the years of isolation following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team in 2009 and worked so hard to get international cricket back, has been treated poorly.

And the ECB, like when Tom Harrison said India’s belated decision to cancel the Old Trafford test had nothing to do with IPL, has insulted our intelligence agency with a corny mouth that just won’t go away. International cricket, and Pakistan in particular, is again the loser.

Ian Chappell is still, almost 80 years old, just as uncompromising a figure as he was when he became one of Australia’s greatest captains. He also remains one of the wisest judges in the game, and I was reminded of him yesterday when I saw James Vince batting for Hampshire against Lancashire in Liverpool.

I ran into Chappell in the Sydney media center towards the end of the final Ashes when it became clear that Vince’s time as Testbatsman was drawing to a close.

“Is it right that Vince is being deposed?” Chappell asked me just after the Hampshire captain was fired for 18 years in an all-too-familiar fashion. “You guys have to have a lot of good players in the house if you want to dump him. He can play.’

Vince can still play now, but his 16 innings yesterday was his career in the microcosm. He apparently hit a higher plane to someone else in the match, but then lightly went out to a wide ball from Tom Bailey. Sounds familiar? Unfortunately, this is why one of the most naturally talented batsmen in the country never quite lived up to his potential.

Talented James Vince reminds me of Ian Chappell, but he never quite lived up to his potential

Talented James Vince reminds me of Ian Chappell, but he never quite lived up to his potential

What a pleasure it is to pay a visit to Aigburth for the first time this week for what should decide the championship title.

This charming site, complete with one of the oldest brick pavilions in England, only hosts Lancashire’s game against Hampshire because of a concert by the Courteeners (no, I haven’t heard of it either) at Old Trafford.

But in the late September sun on Tuesday with spectators lining the boundary around the ground, it looked absolutely stunning and a worthy venue for such a decisive game. County cricket on out-grounds should remain an important part of the calendar forever.

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