England must tour Pakistan in 2022 reciprocating the visit of Azhar Ali and his men despite the coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan pace great Wasim Akram said.
The England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison has thanked West Indies and Pakistan for touring England amid the pandemic this summer, sparing the ECB massive financial loss.
Akram said England should return the favour in 2022.
“You boys owe Pakistan cricket, and the country, a lot, with the boys coming over here,” former Pakistan captain Akram told Sky Sports Cricket.
“They’ve been here almost two-and-half months in the bio-secure environment,” he said, referring to precautions that have included zones off-limits to anyone other than players and officials. Matches have been played without spectators.
“So if everything goes well, England should tour Pakistan,” said Akram, arguably the greatest left-arm pacer.
“I promise you they’ll get looked after on and off the field there and every game will be a packed house.”
Top teams have declined to tour Pakistan since a 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in the city of Lahore.
England last toured Pakistan in 2005-6 but Akram was hopeful the participation of English players in Pakistan’s franchise-based Twenty20 competition would help allay England’s safety concerns.
“The English players were there for the Pakistan Super League in our team, Karachi Kings – Alex Hales and Chris Jordan,” Akram, bowling coach of the franchise, said.
“They loved it, they enjoyed it, they got looked after beautifully, so the PSL is a step in the right direction.”