Britain’s high commissioner to Pakistan has waded into the row over England’s cancelled tour to the country, distancing the political establishment from the decision and insisting he supported the trip.
Christian Turner, the government’s senior diplomat in Pakistan, posted a video on his Twitter feed which appeared to stress that the England and Wales Cricket Board had acted unilaterally by pulling its teams from what would have been an historic joint visit next month.
Turner said he shared the "deep sadness" of cricket fans over England's decision to cancel the tour. "I have been a champion of international cricket's return to Pakistan and will redouble my efforts in advance of England's Autumn 2022 tour," he added.
"I hope that we will soon hear the roar of full cricket stadiums again," the envoy stated, adding in Urdu: "In the end, cricket will be victorious."
But with anger and disappointment growing in Pakistan, led by furious Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja, Turner’s intervention has merely turned up the heat on the ECB, who look increasingly isolated in their position.
“This was a decision made by the ECB, which is independent to the British Government and based on concerns for player welfare. The British high commission supported the tour, did not advise against it on security grounds and travel advice for Pakistan has not changed. I have been a champion of international cricket’s return to Pakistan and will redouble my efforts in advance of England’s autumn 2022 tour.”