Former Pakistani cricket team captain Shahid Afridi on Saturday said it is time for England Cricket Board (ECB) to appreciate Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Afridi wrote on Twitter: “It is time for @ecb_cricket to show their appreciation of @therealpcb through actions and not words.”
The tweet comes after the ECB said it will decide on its tour to Pakistan within the next 24-48 hours after New Zealand cancelled their tour citing a “security alert”.
It’s time for @ecb_cricket to show their appreciation of @therealpcb through actions and not words. Despite the mind boggling @blackcaps decision, Pakistan remains a safe place to tour. ECB shouldn't forget our support for them last year in a very tough Covid-19 situation.
— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) September 18, 2021
Afridi assured international cricketers: “Despite the mind-boggling @blackcaps decision, Pakistan remains a safe place to tour.”
Highlighting the Pakistan-England series in 2020 — when Pakistan went to England despite COVID, the former cricketer said: “ECB should not forget our support for them last year in a very tough COVID-19 situation.”
Pertinently, Pakistan played a three-match Twenty20 International at Old Trafford in September and concluded their tour of England on a high note when they edged England by five runs to share honours.
Earlier in the day, the West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle lit the Internet on fire with his tweet “I’m going to Pakistan tomorrow.”
The cricketer’s statement soon became the top trend on Twitter in Pakistan with a huge number of fans on Twitter lauding him for standing behind the country in its time of need.
The 41-year-old all-rounder announced he was flying to Pakistan, also inviting others to accompany him to the cricket-crazy country.
“I’m going to Pakistan tomorrow, who coming with me?” Chris Gayle tweeted. The Pakistan Cricket Board retweeted his tweet.
On Friday, moments before the ODI series opener at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) board backed out of the much-awaited tour, citing a security alert from their government.
The Pakistani authorities had assured the team of complete security but they insisted on calling off the series.
The PCB in a statement had said that the NZC informed them that they had decided to cancel the series due to security concerns, adding that it was their unilateral decision.
The former Pakistani cricketer and commentator Shoaib Akhtar also slammed New Zealand for abandoning their tour of Pakistan despite Pakistanis support to them in their worst.
Taking to Twitter, Akhtar, who is regarded as the fastest bowler in the history of international cricket, wrote: “NZ just killed Pakistan cricket.”
He went on to add: “Following points for New Zealand to remember: 9 Pakistanis were killed in the Christchurch attack. Pakistan stood strong with New Zealand. Pakistan toured New Zealand in the worst of Covid circumstances regardless of the crude treatment by NZ authorities on that tour.
“This was just an unverified threat, it could have been discussed. Prime Minister Imran Khan personally spoke to his NZ counterpart and assured but it was still refused. Pakistan has safely hosted South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe & PSL.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan also spoke to New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern before the New Zealand team announced that they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan.
Imran Khan had assured Ardern that Pakistan has one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team but New Zealand Cricket (NZC) still decided to return home after the NZ government security alert.