THE Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) are working on security arrangements ahead of the proposed West Indies tour of Pakistan in December.
The WI team are expected to play three One Day Internationals (ODIs) and three T20 Internationals in Pakistan.
On Friday, New Zealand pulled out of their "white-ball" (ODIs and T20Is) tour of Pakistan, moments before the start of the first ODI in Rawalpindi, due to security concerns. New Zealand were slated to play three ODIs and five T20Is against the Pakistanis.
And, on Monday, England decided against sending their men’s and women’s teams to feature in limited-overs matches against their Pakistan counterparts. The English men were set to play two T20 Internationals while the women were due to play two T20s and three ODIs.
CWI CEO Johnny Grave said in an interview, on Tuesday, “I had a call with Wasim Khan, the Pakistan CEO, (on Tuesday) morning, to find out everything that had happened during the past week, on the back of New Zealand abandoning their tour and England’s decision not to go there, and to suggest that we have another call later this week with our operational teams to discuss our women's and men's tours that are scheduled for later this year.”
Grave continued, “We’ll speak to our Independent Security Consultants, ESI, who we used back in 2018 when we went to Pakistan. We've had an initial meeting with WIPA (West Indies Players Association) too about it, and we’re going to follow the same process, that we have done in the past.”
If CWI agree to the tour, would WIPA be okay with it, or would they have their concerns?
“At this stage, our intention is to fulfil our touring obligations,” Grave replied. “We’ve got a pretty clear process that we go through with independent security experts, like we did in 2018. We will follow that process, the board of directors, WIPA, as well as the players themselves will review the plans and our reports, including the independent security advice. Most of our women’s and men’s players have played in Pakistan in the last few years.
“We don’t have to make an imminent decision. We will just go through the process first, with the PCB and the security experts. We’ll have a meeting with the players to answer any questions and give them all the information. We’re just at the start of that process now, with the women’s team just finishing against South Africa. We’re firming up our plans, with the World Cup qualifiers and, from a men’s perspective, we’re focussed very much on the World Cup. That’s the major operations focus.
“We’re looking at getting our (T20) players to the World Cup and our Test players into Antigua for a camp, and then over to Sri Lanka. We’re not due (in Pakistan) with the men's team until the 9th of December, so we’ve got a bit of time,” he added.
With regards to the tour of Sri Lanka, Grave said, “It’s still in the planning stage. We’ve got every intention of going to Sri Lanka for two Test matches immediately after the World Cup.”
The Sri Lanka tour is expected to take place in November.
(after the World Cup, the Test team will go to Sri Lanka and then the white-ball team will go to Pakistan).
“With all of the overseas tours, we’re always getting updates and medical advice in discussions with the boards,” Grave said. “We’re going to be finalising travel arrangements in terms of covid restrictions and quarantines and, in the case of Pakistan, we always have independent security advice by people who are used by all the international boards and the ICC.
“In 2018, we had an independent security manager with the team. I don’t anticipate us changing anything from what we did in 2018, in terms of going through a clear and robust process before the players (leave) the region.”
The West Indies team will have a lot of international commitments in 2022.
In January, Ireland will play three ODIs and three T20Is in the Caribbean, while England will visit for five T20Is. The West Indies will head to India in February for three ODIs and the T20Is, and then return home to host England in three Test matches.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is scheduled for April and May, following which the WI are set to visit the Netherlands for three ODIs in June. Bangladesh will visit the Caribbean in June and July for two Tests, three ODIs and three Tests, then India will visit these shores for three ODIs and three T20Is.
Grave is hopeful that New Zealand can undertake their tour to the Caribbean in August, after it was cancelled in 2020 due to the covid19 pandemic. The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is set for August and September, followed by the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia in October and November, and a two-Test series against hosts Australia.