Coronavirus: PCB won't rush into decision over England tour

By Sports Desk May 11, 2020

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will take up to four weeks to make a decision over whether the tour of England will go ahead.

Pakistan are due to start a three-match Test series against England at Lord's on July 30, with three Twenty20 Internationals also on the schedule.

Yet there are doubts over whether the tour will be staged due to the coronavirus crisis, with spectators highly unlikely to be allowed into venues if matches can go ahead.

PCB chiefs and the counterparts at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will hold talks on Friday.

Wasim Khan, the chief executive of the PCB, says there will be no rush to make such a big decision, with Pakistan's trip to the Netherlands already having been postponed.

He told reporters: "Health and safety is paramount for our players and officials and we are not going to compromise on it.

"The situation in England is poor right now, and we will ask them about their plans. We are not making any decisions, but we will assess and decide in the next three to four weeks.

"This isn't an easy situation, and it isn't an easy decision to make, because things are changing every day in England. There are so many things to be considered - flights, hotels and they are talking about bio-security stadiums… so if people ask me, I will tell them to wait and be patient.

"The longer they stay there, the more our players will be exposed. So there is speculation that the tour might be extended, but I can confirm that this is presently not on the table.

"The West Indies tour to England is also uncertain, and we don't know what to expect. So we are looking forward to the May 15 meeting and will see what are the options."

Khan stressed that will not be influenced by whether England are prepared to make a long-awaited return for a tour of Pakistan when they make their decision.

He added: "It's a tough situation for everyone right now, and I don't think it's fair to take advantage of the situation.

"The most important thing for us is to revive the game for all countries. If we don't, we will be facing a lot of problems going forward.

"The next 12 months will be tough for cricket financially. Thankfully, the PCB is fine for the next 12 months but thereafter, in 18 months' time, we will also have problems.

"Hopefully, by then, cricket will resume and I don't think we are going to take our discussion with the ECB [with a tour of Pakistan a big factor], but we will definitely talk about it when we tour them.

"Look, the MCC toured Pakistan, an Australia delegation came as well, so there is no reason why England and Australia shouldn't be here in 2021 and 2022."

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