The England cricketers’ union has denied the speculation of players having a role in the ECB abandoning next month’s tour of Pakistan, ESPNCricinfo reported. Much to the chagrin of the PCB, its counterparts called off the visit in the wake of New Zealand’s eleventh-hour pullout on security grounds from their series against Pakistan.
Reports had emerged that the Team England Player Partnership (TEPP; the body which represents England’s international players) intervened to inform the ECB that England’s players would be reluctant to travel to the country given the recent turn of events.
However, Richard Bevan, the chair of TEPP, has rubbished the claims. He insisted that neither the body as a whole or individual players had any influence on the apex body’s decision. Instead, it appears as if the ECB board made that call on its own.
“At no stage did TEPP inform the ECB that the players would not be touring,” Bevan was quoted as saying to ESPNcricinfo. “At no stage has the ECB ever asked TEPP or the teams, men and women, whether the tour should go ahead or whether players were prepared to tour Pakistan.It is 100 percent incorrect to suggest TEPP intervened to say the players would not tour.”
Instead, representatives from TEPP had planned to hold four meetings with the ECB to discuss matters around the tour. After the third of those meetings, before the parties had a chance to explore the security issue in-depth, the ECB board pulled the plug on the tour. There had been no team meeting to discuss the situation and at no time was TEPP informed of the specific threat which led to New Zealand abandoning their tour.
The ECB also accept that the travel advice, both from the Foreign Office, the British High Commission in Pakistan and their own security advisors had not changed despite New Zealand’s withdrawal. All felt that the tour remained viable if the advised security protocols were observed, as per the report in ESPNCricinfo.