Pakistan greats such as Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar among others have castigated the England and New Zealand cricket boards for pulling out of their scheduled tours of the country citing “security issues” and “mental and physical well-being of our players”.
After New Zealand Cricket (NZC) withdrew its side hours before the opening match at Rawalpindi a couple of days back due to ‘security concerns’, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) too cancelled the men’s and women’s team tours saying that the “mental and physical well-being of our players and support staff remains our highest priority and this is even more critical given the times we are currently living in”.
Legendary Pakistan bowler Wasim Akram tweeted, “It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life. Unfortunately we live in a world where terror threats haunt sports and entertainment in every single country. But I would much rather play cricket in a country that is prepared for anything than one that isn’t.”
Another Pakistan great, fast bowler Waqar Younis, wrote, “‘Integrity Comes First’ Unfortunately we live in a very cynical World. So let’s not cry over spilled milk. Let’s show the World that we are alive. Time to shine Team Pakistan (Flag of Pakistan) #T20WorldCup Support required from every Pakistani around the World #PakistanZindabad.”
Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik termed it a sad news for the country’s cricket. “Sad news for Pakistan cricket, just stay strong…We will be back stronger, inshAllah!”
Even when the New Zealand team abandoned the tour a couple of days back and flew to Dubai on a chartered flight, Malik had tweeted, “Just landed & got the news of New Zealand tour cancellation, If Srilanka can visit Pakistan after what happened followed by countries like SA, WI, BD, ZIM in recent times with successful tours, why not NZ? Not only me, millions of cricket fans are gutted by this decision.”
Former Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar, said its time to have an arm-wrestling contest and show who is stronger. “So England also refuses. Its ok guys, see you all at the T20 World Cup. Specially @BLACKCAPS. Ab painja laganay ka time aa gaya hai. Chorna nahi hai ab @babarazam, (It’s time to arm-wrestle and defeat them. Don’t spare them),” tweeted Akhtar.
PCB also got support from Indian cricketers such as Wasim Jaffer who tweeted, “The @TheRealPCB have every reason to be disappointed with the ECB. Pak and WI toured England last year during pandemic before vaccines. England owes so much to both Pak and WI. Least ECB could do is not cancel the reciprocal tours. There are no winners when cricket is cancelled.”