- “We raised the issue of ECB cancelling the Pakistan tour with UK govt and how it disappointed cricket fans,” says Qureshi.
- Says UK foreign secretary had said the decision was independently taken by the ECB and it had nothing to do with the UK government.
- Says England team should look at its schedule and decide when it is feasible for it to revisit Pakistan.
ISLAMABAD: Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday reacted to the resignation of England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) chairman saying that “Pakistan’s viewpoint seems to have been registered” by the board.
Earlier in the day, ECB chief, Ian Watmore, resigned from his post after increasing pressure since the cancellation of England’s tour to Pakistan.
Speaking on the matter, Qureshi said that during his recent visit to the United Kingdom, he had raised the issue of England’s decision to pull out of the Pakistan tour with his UK counterpart, Elizabeth Truss.
“We raised the issue of the ECB taking a unilateral decision to cancel the Pakistan tour and how it disappointed cricket fans,” he said, adding that Truss informed him that the decision was independently taken by the ECB and it had nothing to do with the UK government.
“The UK foreign secretary assured us that she would convey our grievances to the ECB and, with the resignation of Ian Watmore, it seems that Pakistan’s viewpoint has been registered by the board,” Qureshi reiterated.
The foreign minister added: “We conveyed the message because we wanted the ECB to understand that such decisions are not without consequences as they cause difficulties for players and fans alike.”
Qureshi further said that the England team should look at its schedule and decide when it is feasible for it to revisit Pakistan.
ECB chief resigns after pressure over cancellation of Pakistan tour
Watmore served as the chairman of the ECB for only 13 months, despite having been appointed for a five-year term.
The 63-year-old is leaving after consultations with the board of directors this week and his resignation will go into effect immediately, The Times reported.
According to ECB, following the announcement, Watmore remarked: “It is with regret that I step down as Chair of the ECB, but I do so in mindfulness of my own wellbeing and that of the game which I love. I was appointed to the post in a pre-pandemic era, but COVID has meant the role and its demands on time are dramatically different to all our original expectations, which has taken a personal toll on me. Given this, the Board and I feel the ECB will be better served by a new Chair to take it forward post-pandemic. Leaving now, at the end of the season, gives the Board time to find a new Chair to support cricket through the challenges of the 2022 season and beyond.
“On a personal level, I also retired last month after five years at the Civil Service Commission and recently became a grandfather. I would now like to retire completely from work and enjoy our great game as a spectator.”
England’s men and women teams were due to play two Twenty20s in Rawalpindi on October 13 and 14. The women’s team were also due to play three ODIs in Pakistan on October 17, 19, and 21.
Following England’s cancellation, which came on the heels of New Zealand pulling out of Pakistan at the eleventh hour of their own tour over what they said were “security” concerns, Watmore apologised to Pakistanis hurt by the move.
In Watmore’s first public comments after England’s decision invited anger from the Pakistan Cricket Board and cricket fans around the globe, he said: “I’m very sorry to anyone who feels hurt or let down by our decision, particularly in Pakistan.”
“The decision the board made was an extremely difficult one and the board made it with the primary consideration being the welfare and mental health of our players and staff,” he added.