Misbah: No obligation for England to tour Pakistan

Omnisport

Pakistan's upcoming tour of England does not come with the caveat that Joe Root's side must return the favour in future, Misbah-ul-Haq has insisted.

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic resulting in India pulling out of fixtures in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, Pakistan are set to follow West Indies in touring England for three Tests and Twenty20s between August and September having named a 29-man squad on Friday.

West Indies arrived in England earlier this week ahead of Tests that will take place at bio-secure venues in Southampton and Manchester, and the Pakistan series appears likely to follow a similar format.

Even though the contests will likely be staged behind closed doors, they can still be lucrative to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), with West Indies and Pakistan willing to tour a country still grappling with COVID-19.

That has raised suggestions that Pakistan have only decided to travel with the proviso England visit their country in future, something they have not done since the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009.

"It is not in our minds that we are coming and keeping in view something that the ECB has to do for us in return," Pakistan head coach Misbah said.

"At the moment the PCB [Pakistan Cricket Board] is just thinking about the restart of international cricket. That is very important to us, to get the players back on the ground.

"Obviously, in a bigger picture, we are not expecting anything in return. Overall we want not just the ECB but all cricketing nations to help each other so this game can grow. It's important for the cricket fans in Pakistan and also for Pakistan cricket that countries start touring Pakistan."

The prospect of playing in empty stadiums is one few countries around the world have experience of.

However, having staged 'home' Tests in front of sparsely populated stadiums in the United Arab Emirates since the Lahore attack, Misbah believes Pakistan will be better prepared than most when cricket resumes.

"Nobody understands it better than us because we played much more cricket than any other team in the world with empty stadiums in the UAE," he said.

"Obviously in a bigger picture, if we want to resume international cricket, we have to start it from somewhere."

Misbah also said he was hoping for the best for ex-Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi after the latter revealed on Twitter that he had tested positive for coronavirus.

"My prayers are with him, all well wishes with him that he gets out of this soon," Misbah added.

“Throughout the COVID situation he was helping the poor, doing a very good job. I think he was doing a lot of work in the area of Balochistan and the northern areas just to help the people."

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