There were already fears that other countries would follow suit after New Zealand abruptly cancelled a series last week over unspecified security concerns.

England cricket team cancels tour to Pakistan without specifying the exact nature of security threats.
England cricket team cancels tour to Pakistan without specifying the exact nature of security threats. (AP)

England’s cricketers will not travel for matches in Pakistan next month because of security concerns.

The decision taken by the England and Wales Cricket Board on Monday came three days after New Zealand Cricket abandoned its men's team's limited-overs tour of Pakistan following a government alert that warned of a possible attack outside Rawalpindi Stadium.

READ MORE: Will Pakistan cricket recover from the New Zealand blow?

“We know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region,” the ECB said, “and 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.”

Pakistani cricketers and officials expressed disappointment over the news. 

England men’s and women’s teams were scheduled to play Twenty20 matches in Rawalpindi next month.

England’s men have not played an international in Pakistan since 2005 while the women were to visit for the first time. They were due to play three ODIs as well as two T20s.

Pakistan was a no-go zone for international cricket teams for a decade after terrorists attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009. The ambush killed seven people and injured several Sri Lankan cricketers.

International teams resumed touring Pakistan in 2019.

'Disappointment' 

Pakistani officials and millions of cricket fans were looking forward to the England tour after the Black Caps pulled out of the tournament at the last moment. 

For many in Pakistan, the decision of the English team would seem akin to a stab in the back as last summer Pakistan helped England save its cricketing summer by sending its national team there to play a series despite serious Covid-19 concerns. 

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) says New Zealand authorities had not bothered to discuss the situation with Pakistani intelligence and security officials who might have taken them into confidence. 

Islamabad says hundreds of police and security personnel including multiple checkpoints along the route to the stadium were deployed for protection of the players. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies