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Michael Holding critical of ECB decision not to go ahead with Pakistan tour

England men and women were withdrawn from scheduled T20 matches in Pakistan; ECB cited 'concerns about travelling to the region'; Holding: "What that signal sends to me is the same western arrogance".

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Michael Holding says 'western arrogance' was behind the ECB’s decision to cancel England's planned tour of Pakistan

Michael Holding has hit out at the ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] over the cancellation of the scheduled tour of Pakistan, saying it smacks of "western arrogance".

England men and women were each due to play two T20 matches in the country in October - but withdrew from the tour last month.

And, having been honoured with the Peter Smith Award for presentation of cricket to the public at the Cricket Writers' Club annual awards, Holding said he felt the ECB got it wrong.

"What that signal sends to me is the same western arrogance," said Holding.

"I will treat you how I feel like treating you - it doesn't matter what you think, I will just do what I want.

"Four days in Pakistan [was all they would have spent], I am absolutely sure they would not have done that to India.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 21: Naseem Shah of Pakistan celebrates the wicket of Joe Root of England with Yasir Shah during Day One of the 3rd #RaiseTheBat Test Match between England and Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on August 21, 2020 in Southampton, England
Image: Holding pointed out that Pakistan toured England in the summer of 2020 amid strict Covid protocols

"You know why? Because India is rich and powerful. I am in total agreement with Mike Atherton and [cricket writer] George Dobell, who wrote articles condemning England and the ECB.

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"They were going for four days. Pakistan went to England [in 2020] before vaccines were available for six, seven weeks, something like that.

"They stayed, they played their cricket, they were in that bubble.

"I was in that bubble and it wasn't fantastic but it was better than going out into society, where we know Covid was and without any vaccinations available to anyone.

"They stayed, they played, and honoured what England wanted them to honour, and now you have an opportunity to try and repay them to a small degree."

Following the cancellation of the Pakistan tour, an ECB statement read in part: "We know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region 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.

"We understand that this decision will be a significant disappointment to the PCB, who have worked tirelessly to host the return of international cricket in their country.

"Their support of English and Welsh cricket over the last two summers has been a huge demonstration of friendship.

"We are sincerely sorry for the impact this will have on cricket in Pakistan and emphasise an ongoing commitment to our main touring plans there for 2022."

A few days earlier, New Zealand had abandoned a planned tour of Pakistan, despite their players having already arrived in the country, citing 'a New Zealand government security alert'.

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