Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, will meet with Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, as well as the PCB chief executive Ramiz Raja, in a bid to repair relations with the country in the wake of last month’s cancelled T20I tour.
Officials at the PCB were incensed when England pulled out of the two-match tour at short notice a few weeks ago. Now Harrison has flown in to assure Ramiz, the new PCB chairman, that England remain committed to their Test tour of the country at the end of 2022. England have not toured Pakistan since late 2005. He is also set to meet with PM Imran Khan, who also serves as patron-in-chief of the PCB.
Speaking in the wake of the cancelled T20I tour – which followed hot on the heels of New Zealand’s abandonment of their own tour on the morning of their opening ODI in Rawalpindi – Ramiz hit out at what he called cricket’s “western bloc”, and said that the PCB would be making contingency plans to protect their home itinerary in the event of another England pull-out next year.
“I am severely disappointed in England’s withdrawal but it was expected because this western bloc gets united unfortunately and tries to back each other,” Ramiz said. “This is a lesson for us because we go out of our way to accommodate and pamper these sides when they visit. From now on we will only go as far as is in our interest.”
Harrison’s trip is only expected to last a couple of days. He is due in the UAE later in the week as the ICC hold their first in-person chief executives’ meeting since the start of the pandemic. The news comes on the same day that Cricket Australia announced its plans for a three-Test, three-ODI and one-off T20I tour in March 2022. If it goes ahead as planned, it will be their first tour of the country since 1998.