England able to play cricket in Pakistan once more, says Chris Silverwood

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England cricket team

  • England have not toured since 2005 due to security concerns
  • ‘I think we are getting there. I would have no problem with that’

Chris Silverwood believes England are close to returning to cricket in Pakistan.
Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images for ECB

Chris Silverwood, the England coach, believes his team are ready to play cricket in Pakistan amid talk that a return visit should be one of the pay-offs for getting this summer’s Test series played.

About England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. It is the largest country of the British Isles.
The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world. The English language, the Anglican Church, and English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, and the country’s parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations. The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world’s first industrialised nation.England’s terrain is chiefly low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the north (for example, the Lake District and Pennines) and in the west (for example, Dartmoor and the Shropshire Hills). The capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and, prior to Brexit, the European Union. England’s population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom, largely concentrated around London, the South East, and conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, and Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century.The Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland (through another Act of Union) to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

England ready to play cricket in Pakistan again, says Chris Silverwood

About cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a 20-metre (22-yard) pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at the wicket with the bat, while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this and dismiss each batter (so they are “out”). Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, and by the fielding side catching the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground. When ten batters have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches. They communicate with two off-field scorers who record the match’s statistical information.
Forms of cricket range from Twenty20, with each team batting for a single innings of 20 overs, to Test matches played over five days. Traditionally cricketers play in all-white kit, but in limited overs cricket they wear club or team colours. In addition to the basic kit, some players wear protective gear to prevent injury caused by the ball, which is a hard, solid spheroid made of compressed leather with a slightly raised sewn seam enclosing a cork core layered with tightly wound string.
The earliest reference to cricket is in South East England in the mid-16th century. It spread globally with the expansion of the British Empire, with the first international matches in the second half of the 19th century. The game’s governing body is the International Cricket Council (ICC), which has over 100 members, twelve of which are full members who play Test matches. The game’s rules, the Laws of Cricket, are maintained by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in London. The sport is followed primarily in the Indian subcontinent, Australasia, the United Kingdom, southern Africa and the West Indies. Women’s cricket, which is organised and played separately, has also achieved international standard. The most successful side playing international cricket is Australia, which has won seven One Day International trophies, including five World Cups, more than any other country and has been the top-rated Test side more than any other country.

England have not toured Pakistan since 2005 because of the security concerns that followed the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore, with the United Arab Emirates acting as a neutral venue during this time.

But with Pakistan sending a team to the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic – their squad arrived on 29 June and have been in lockdown ever since – there is an onus on the England and Wales Cricket Board to return the favour.

England ready to play cricket in Pakistan again, says Chris Silverwood

Wasim Khan, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s chief executive, told Sky Sports that while England are not due to tour the country until 2022, it is hoped a short trip – either a T20 series or a visit by the England Lions – can be arranged beforehand.

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have played Test series in Pakistan in the past 12 months, while the Pakistan Super League has also been staged in the country since 2017.

Silverwood believes England are close to following suit.

He said: “I think we are getting there. Personally I would have no problem with that. I’ve never been to Pakistan so it would be nice to go and have a look.

“I know the batsmen would look forward to batting on their wickets. For me it’s great that it is back as a topic of conversation.”

Silverwood reflected on a mixed bag for his bowlers on the first day of the first Test, having reduced Pakistan to 53 for two at lunch, thanks to wickets from Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer, yet seeing the tourists reach a far healthier 139 for two from 49 overs by the time bad light stopped play.

While Babar Azam lived up to his billing before the series with a finessed 69 not out from 100 balls, that opener Shan Masood was still there at the close unbeaten on 46 from 152 was a source of frustration given two missed chances by Jos Buttler behind the stumps.

Dom Bess was the bowler thwarted on both occasions, seeing a tough catch behind shelled when Masood was on 45 and then, three hours later after rain with the left-hander yet to add to his score, an easier stumping was fumbled.

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Silverwood said: “No one means to miss them. We’ll continue to give a lot of support, as we do for every member of our squad. Jos is very capable of doing something very special for us tomorrow.

“For us, he’s been tidy there more often than not. We’ll keep giving him the support he needs because we all know he’s capable of special feats.

“I thought we started off very well. We asked a lot of questions but after lunch we weren’t so good. We bowled too many four balls, gave the momentum back to Pakistan and they capitalised. The challenge I’ve thrown out there tonight, if that happens again, and it will do, how do we drag momentum back?”

Masood, who had only one half-century to show from four Tests against England, said: “The game is pretty funny. You get an element of fortune every now and then and there are times when the tide goes the other way. You just try to stay in and whatever chances you get, you try to capitalise.

England has always been a place for world cricketers to prove their mettle. We’re looking forward to that. We are very satisfied with the start we’ve got and we hope we can consolidate this position.”