Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja feels the need to make contingency plans ahead of England's multi-format tour of the country in 2022. England are slated to visit Pakistan for three Tests and five ODIs in October next year but Raja has already started becoming cautious.
The England Cricket Board (ECB)'s decision to cancel Pakistan's tour next month for two T20s has strained its relations with the PCB. Ramiz Raja expressed his disappointment with the ECB and is wary of suffering the same fate in 2022.
Raja revealed that he spoke with ECB chairperson Ian Watmore and is not convinced of England executing the tour next year. The former Pakistan opener asserted the PCB have to form backup plans. Raja said as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo:
"I spoke to Ian [Watmore] about this and I said what is the guarantee of England coming back in 2022 and playing because a month before that tour? You can easily quote tiredness, players being spooked, or sick of living in a bubble, or a threat perception not being shared with us. He clearly had no answer to that, so we'll have a backup plan for sure."
It would have been England's first tour of Pakistan since 2005 when the visitors played three Tests in Multan, Faisalabad and Lahore.
We offered them housing just next door to the stadium in Lahore in the NHPC: Ramiz Raja
Raja stated that ECB's explanation of New Zealand's withdrawal influencing their decision was difficult to understand. He felt gutted that the ECB failed to return their favor despite Pakistan making every possible arrangement. The 58-year-old added:
"In going out of our way to accommodate, to adjust to international demands, to being a responsible part of the fraternity and in return we get a response from the ECB that the players were spooked by NZ's withdrawal - what does that mean? We offered them housing just next door to the stadium in Lahore in the NHPC (National High Performance Centre). It was about helping a member of the cricket fraternity when they needed you most and we didn't get that from the ECB."
Pakistan also have visits lined up from Australia and the West Indies in 2022. However, those series being staged remain an uncertainty after New Zealand and England refusing to play in Pakistan.