Pakistan's July tour of Netherlands postponed indefinitely
Pakistan's ODI tour of the Netherlands has been postponed following the Dutch government's decision to ban all events including sporting contests until September 1 owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pakistan were scheduled to take on Netherlands in the first bilateral ODI series between the two nations starting July 4 with all the matches set to staged in Amstelveen.
Professional cricket has come to a screeching halt amidst the COVID-19 crisis with this series becoming the latest casualty in the long list of postponed encounters.
“It is sad that we have to postpone our July tour to the Netherlands, but in the prevailing circumstances, this is absolutely the right thing to do as human lives are far more precious and valuable than a cricket match or an event," said PCB chief executive Wasim Khan.
Europe, in particular, has been drastically affected by a tremendous loss of lives due to the deadly virus with the Netherlands observing over 4,000 deaths and 34,842 confirmed infections.
“Netherlands has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and we offer our heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost their lives. Like any other country, the PCB stands firmly with the KNCB [Koninklijke Nederlandse Cricket Bond] and hope they will be able to overcome this crisis," Wasim added.
“The Pakistan national cricket teams have always enjoyed touring the Netherlands and as soon as things return to normal, the PCB will engage with the KNCB to reschedule the tour so that we can fulfill our obligation."
Pakistan are also supposed to tour Ireland for a T20I series in mid-July before embarking on a six-week trip to England that comprises of three Tests and as many T20Is.
The fate of these matches hinges on the future effects of the virus in the UK as Wasim declared preparations were still intact for the series.
“The Pakistan national men’s cricket team’s tours to Ireland, for two Twenty20 Internationals, and England, for three Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals, are on track at this stage," he claimed.
"We are keeping a watching brief and are in contact with our counterparts in Dublin and London, respectively. As is always the case, the PCB will be happy to be guided by the hosts on the upcoming tours but without compromising on the health and safety of its players and team support personnel.”
Meanwhile, KNCB chairperson Betty Timmer conveyed her sadness at the fact that Netherlands have been forced to completely abandon their international home season this summer.
“It is extremely disappointing that we won’t be able to host any international cricket in the Netherlands this summer. However, the health and safety of the players, staff and fans is our main priority, and in that light the ban on events by the Dutch government is understandable."