England cricketers would tour Pakistan, believes Mushtaq

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LAHORE: Former spinner Mushtaq Ahmed believes that England’s cricketers would happily tour Pakistan and says his country deserved better having travelled the opposite way at the peak of the pandemic.

Mushtaq, who features a foot in both camps after serving as England’s spin-bowling coach in 2009-2015, voiced his frustration after English cricket chiefs controversially cancelled tours for his or her men’s and women’s teams next month to cricket-crazy Pakistan.

The first trip by the britain men’s side to Pakistan since 2005 was only meant to last four days with two Twenty20 Internationals in Rawalpindi.

But the britain and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last week cited ‘increasing concerns about travelling to the region’, days after New Zealand abandoned their tour of Pakistan minutes before the beginning of the primary One-day International in Rawalpindi, citing a security alert.

The ECB decision was met with fury in Pakistan which only went up a notch after the Daily Mail newspaper reported that the britain players weren’t consulted.

“I think from my experience, playing in England and also coach of England for 6 years, i feel the blokes are very open-minded and that they know the circumstances of the planet ,” Mushtaq, 51, said of English players.

“I know them —- I played with many cricketers, I coached them for 6 years, I played [English] county cricket,” he added.

“I think [the]players will certainly come now,” he said, remarking that variety of England players had featured within the Pakistan Super League in recent seasons.

Mushtaq said that Pakistan deserved better after they toured England last year.

Pakistan travelled a time when Covid-19 infection rates in Britain were among the very best within the world for a three-match Test and T20 series that saved the ECB millions in television rights deals.

“If [a]team can travel in coronavirus situation when the people were dying [in Britain]and Pakistan visited England and played a series, then they ought to have acknowledged that and that they should respect that,” said Mushtaq.

Mushtaq, who played 52 Tests, 144 One-day Inter­nationals and was a member of Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup-winning team, said that other cricket tours and tournaments had gone ahead in countries where there had been terror attacks.

However, a deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore saw Pakistan become a no-go destination for international teams.

In 2012 and 2015 Pakistan hosted England within the UAE, which has staged most of their home games since the attack.

Mushtaq said having to play faraway from Pakistan was ‘very difficult’ for the team.

“I am saying that because heroes become heroes once they play ahead of their home crowds which is once you start believing that you simply can represent your country — you deserve that platform,” he said.

“When you play in Pakistan I remember that I wont to feel different visual communication in me and wont to have a special mindset,” he added.

“I wont to think that once you take a wicket, take an excellent catch, the type of reception from Pakistan people [is amazing]. once you hit a six, the way the crowds wont to shout, you become a hero.”

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