England showed ‘Western arrogance’ in withdrawing from Pakistan tour, says Michael Holding

England’s men’s and women’s teams were due to play white-ball games in Pakistan but withdrew last month.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) blamed “increasing concerns” about travelling in the region and “pressures” of bubble environments.

“The ECB statement doesn’t wash with me,” Holding said. “No substance.”

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Speaking after receiving the Cricket Writers’ Club Peter Smith Award, Holding added: “Nobody wants to come forward and face up to anything because they know what they did was wrong.

“So they put out a statement and hid behind a statement. It just reminds me of the rubbish they did with Black Lives Matter.

“I won’t go back into that because I’ve said enough about that. But what that signal sends to me, is the same Western arrogance.

“I will treat you how I feel like treating you, it doesn’t matter what you think, I’ll just do what I want.”

Three days before the ECB announced its decision New Zealand pulled out of a tour of Pakistan amid security concerns, citing a “specific and credible threat”.

The ECB statement did not reference security issues and Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja said the ECB’s reasoning was “not good enough”.

Pakistan’s men travelled to England for three Tests and three T20s in the summer 2020 – all in a bio-secure environment without fans – within the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Pakistan went to England before vaccines were available for six or seven weeks,” said Holding, who played 60 Tests for West Indies before becoming a celebrated commentator.

“They stayed, they played their cricket, they honoured what England wanted them to honour, to save England’s butt, to put it mildly.

“Four days in Pakistan? I’m absolutely sure they would not have done that to India, because India is rich and powerful.”

Holding, who will retire from commentary this year, was rewarded by the Cricket Writers’ Club for “outstanding contribution to the presentation of cricket to the public”. He has passionately spoken about racism in the past 18 months.

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