Сricket

England keen to tour Pakistan, says head coach Chris Silverwood

Chris Silverwood has said he and England would be happy to tour Pakistan for the first time since 2005.

England are scheduled to tour in 2022 with Pakistan welcoming back international and franchise cricket following the attack on the Sri Lanka team in 2009. It was an incident that saw Pakistan having to play their cricket outside of the country, adopting the United Arab Emirates for home matches at great cost

Those costs, and broader financial issues across the game, have been brought into focus amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, Pakistan’s presence in the United Kingdom to fulfil a three-match Test series and three-match Twenty20 series with England will go some way to helping the hosts claw back a potential £280m loss.

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Thus, it is hoped by the Pakistan Cricket Board that England return the favour, with chief executive Wasim Khan floating the idea of an earlier tour before 2022. “We’d love to have them coming over well before then for a shorter tour,” Wasim told Sky Sports. “It’s something that we’ll speak to the ECB about. But it’s baby steps. There’s a lot of cricket still left to play. But we’re hoping in the near future England will definitely come.”

At stumps on day one at Emirates Old Trafford, with Pakistan 139 for two, Silverwood backed returning the favour, which would make England the fifth international team to visit Pakistan since 2009 after Bangaldesh, Zimbabwe, West Indies and Sri Lanka.

“Personally I would have no problem with that,” said Silverwood. “I’ve never been to Pakistan so it would be nice to go there and have a look, really. I know the batsmen would be looking forward to batting on their wickets! For me it’s great that it’s back into the topic of conversation. We’re looking to get out there. That series is a good one.”

Even with this willingness, the England and Wales Cricket Board would need guarantees over safety and would send their own security detail out in advance to assess the stability in the region. As per tours where security measures are in place, the option will be given to players as to whether they are available for selection, as they did prior to a 2016 tour to Bangladesh. At the time, limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan and batsman Alex Hales opted out sighting safety concerns.

Since then, a number of England cricketers have returned to Pakistan to play in the Pakistan Super League Twenty20 tournament – including Hales – or as part of invitational sides. As such, being in a constant state of lockdown, as the touring sides are in England now during the pandemic, is nothing new and is a sacrifice many have been willing to make.

Many have also been impressed by the scale of the security detail they are afforded which will go some way to ensuring any visiting England squad would be close to a full-strength.

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