KARACHI: A top official of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday expressed optimism that the T20 World Cup and Asia Cup will take place as planned, while also saying that the situation about Pakistan’s tour of England was being monitored in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
“As per everywhere else in the world, sport has ceased for the time being due to the coronavirus. The health and wellbeing of people take precedent and we at the PCB will always put the health and wellbeing of our staff, players and officials first,” PCB chief executive officer Wasim Khan told Dawn. “We will continue to speak to the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB); this remains an evolving situation and we will monitor it week-by-week. It is too early to say at this stage if the tour will go ahead or not. United Kingdom has been hit pretty badly by Covid-19 so we will need to be convinced first and foremost that it is safe for our squad to travel and play.”
Pakistan are scheduled to play three Tests — Lord’s (July 30-Aug 3), Old Trafford (Aug 7-11) and Trent Bridge (Aug 20-24) — and three Twenty20 Internationals (Headingley, Aug 29), Cardiff (Aug 31) and Southampton (Sept 2) against England after travelling to the Netherlands for three One-day Internationals in Amstelveen between July 4 and 9 and Ireland for two T20 games on July 12 and 14, respectively.
The PCB official also added that the prospects of Cricket West Indies (CWI) staging the England home series against the West Indies and Pakistan in the Caribbean were bleak. “As far PCB is concerned, I think it is highly unlikely that this will happen.”
Commenting on the Asia Cup in September and T20 World Cup — the global event to be staged in Australia from Oct 18 to Nov 15 — Wasim said it’s far too early to speculate whether those events would be affected by Covid-19.
“Thankfully the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup are months away. There will be a need for a lot of patience over the coming months and I am sure that the Asian Cricket Council and the International Cricket Council will make the right decision based on the situation closer to the time.”
Meanwhile, Wasim urged the general public to follow the guidelines given by the federal government to avoid coming in contact with the coronavirus.
“At this time, it is important that we all stay safe and listen to the guidelines being given by the government. The PCB, as a responsible organisation, has used its players to get key messages out about how to stay safe. We hope and pray that the situation eases for all the people of our country. We need to remain vigilant and resilient as a nation,” Wasim advised.
Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2020