Cricket: Australia star slams England, New Zealand over Pakistan decisions

Cricket: Australia star slams England, New Zealand over Pakistan decisions

Australia batter Usman Khawaja has criticised England and New Zealand for pulling out of their tours to Pakistan.

The New Zealand men’s team were due to play three one-day internationals and five T20s in Pakistan but scrapped the tour due to a ‘security alert’.

England, meanwhile, had agreed to send their men’s and women’s teams to the country but pulled out on the grounds of player welfare.

‘I feel it’s very easy for players and organisations to say no to Pakistan, because it’s Pakistan,’ said Khawaja. ‘I think the same thing would apply too if it were Bangladesh.

‘But nobody would say no to India, if they’re in the same situation. Money talks, we all know that, and that’s probably a big part of it.’

Khawaja, who was born in Pakistan, also insisted he would have no concerns over touring the country, with Australia scheduled to travel to Pakistan in February.

He added: ‘There’s a lot of security. Heavy, heavy security. I’ve heard nothing but reports about people feeling safe.’

International cricket was not played in Pakistan for six years following an attack on the Sri Lanka team by gunmen in 2009.

The England men’s team were due to make their first trip to Pakistan since 2005, while the women have never played there.

An ECB statement read: ‘We know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region.

‘We believe that going ahead will add further pressure to a playing group who have already coped with a long period of operating in restricted Covid environments.’

Reacting to England’s withdrawal, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja told BBC World Service: ‘It’s absurd. We have gone out of our way to accommodate international sides.

‘I’m extremely disappointed and so are the fans. Right now, we needed England.

‘It’s a small cricket fraternity that we have. We were expecting England to be a little bit more responsible. We are hurt, but forward we shall move.’

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