Former spinner Mushtaq Ahmed believes England cricketers would gladly visit Pakistan and says his country deserved better to have traveled the other way during the height of the pandemic.
Ahmed, who has one foot in both camps after coaching England’s spin-bowling in 2009-2015, expressed frustration to AFP after England’s cricket bosses controversially canceled tours of their men’s and women’s teams next month in cricket-mad Pakistan.
The England men’s team’s first trip to Pakistan since 2005 was only due to last four days with two Twenty20 matches at Rawalpindi.
But the England and Wales Cricket Council (ECB) last week spoke of “growing concerns over travel to the region”, days after New Zealand scrapped its Pakistan tour minutes before the start of the first one-day international in Rawalpindi, citing a security alert. .
The ECB move was greeted with fury in Pakistan, which only increased a notch after the Daily Mail newspaper reported that England players had not been consulted.
“I think from my experience, playing in England and also coaching England for six years, I think the guys are very open-minded and they know the circumstances of the world,” said Ahmed, 51. , about the English players.
“I know them – I played with a lot of cricketers, I coached them for six years, I played (English) county cricket,” he added.
“I think (the) players are definitely going to come now,” he said, noting that a number of English players have participated in the Pakistani Super League in recent seasons.
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Ahmed said Pakistan deserved better after his tour of England last year.
Pakistan traveled to a time when Britain’s Covid infection rates were among the highest in the world for a three-match Test and T20 series that saved the ECB millions in rights deals of TV.
“If (a) team can travel in a corona (virus) situation when people were dying (in Britain) and Pakistan went to England and played a series, then they should have recognized it and they should. respect, ”Ahmed said.
Become a hero
Ahmed, who played 52 tests, 144 one-day internationals and was a member of the 1992 World Cup-winning Pakistan team, said other cricket tours and tournaments have taken place in countries where there are had had terrorist 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 in the United Arab Emirates, which has hosted most of its “home” games since the attack.
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Ahmed said having to play away from Pakistan was “very difficult” for the team.
“I say this because heroes become heroes when they play in front of their own audiences and that’s when you start to believe that you can represent your country – you deserve this platform,” a- he declared.
“When you play in Pakistan, I remember I used to feel a different body language in me and have a different mindset,” he added.
“I used to think when you take a wicket make a brilliant capture, the kind of welcome Pakistanis (is amazing).
“When you hit a six, the way crowds used to shout, you become a hero.”