Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell has said that the loopholes in international cricket scheduling have come to the forefront in the last month after New Zealand and England called off their tours to Pakistan.
He also highlighted no series is 100 per cent guaranteed of going ahead after even the fifth Test between India and England got cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. New Zealand had called off their tour to Pakistan while being in the country and they decided to go back home right ahead of the first ODI after receiving a security threat. England followed suit and the ECB cited ‘player welfare’ as the primary reason.
“Cricket has only itself to blame for the bloated, unworkable schedule that the Covid pandemic has blown up like a left-over land mine. First, there was England’s withdrawal from a December 2020 ODI series in South Africa following a Covid outbreak. The pace of scheduling breakdowns picked up recently with India’s refusal to play the last Test in the five-match series against England. That was followed in quick succession by New Zealand’s last-minute withdrawal from a T20 series with Pakistan, which prompted England to cancel their proposed men’s and women’s tour of that country,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
“There’s no doubt that completing cricket tours unhindered during the pandemic is a precarious business. Just surviving from day to day is an accomplishment in the current climate. Nevertheless, the treatment meted out to Pakistan, in particular, appears to be excessively harsh, considering the way they have unselfishly toured other countries during the pandemic,” he added.
Further talking about how Pakistan has been treated unfairly, Chappell said: “Pakistan has now learned a lesson about the game that the former England captain and accomplished broadcaster Tony Lewis once eloquently expounded about on air. After a particularly strenuous overseas winter bonding session, the England team had quickly found itself in trouble after the loss of early wickets in the first Test of the summer. “Ah, that’s better,” chanted Lewis, “now the England players will understand the reality of the situation: it’s every man for himself.” Or, as it might be more correct to say In modern cricket parlance: “It’s every man and woman for themselves.”
“This is especially so in the lamentable case of Afghanistan, where the dreaded Taliban have more or less decreed female sport is a no-no. This will more than likely result in the Afghanistan men’s team having their first Test with Australia cancelled, and their probable ultimate removal from the status of Test-playing nation. An international schedule that has lately flourished like a mushroom in the dark is now resembling a block of Jarlsberg cheese with its trademark holes,” he added.