England should ‘definitely’ tour Pakistan, says new ECB chairman


England should “definitely” tour Pakistan provided it is safe to do so, according to new England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Ian Watmore.

England have not visited Pakistan since 2005/06. An attack by armed militants on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore in 2009 ended major cricket tours for a decade, with Pakistan forced to play ‘home’ matches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

But other countries have since made the trip, with England scheduled to return to Pakistan in 2022.

English players have also taken part in the Pakistan Super League.

Both Pakistan and the West Indies, two of world cricket’s financially poorer nations, have helped spare the ECB losses that could have totalled hundreds of millions of pounds by going ahead with tours of England even when Britain was badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It would be brilliant for us and for the game there to get cricket back on,” said Watmore on Tuesday, just hours before Pakistan’s tour concludes with the third Twenty20 international against England at Old Trafford.

“With Pakistan back hosting cricket we should definitely go and tour there if it’s at all safe to do so.”

In his first day in post since succeeding Colin Graves, the 62-year-old Watmore, a former businessman and civil servant, who was briefly chief executive of England’s governing Football Association, also discussed the financial problems facing the ECB as a result of Covid-19 during a wide-ranging media conference.