October 5, 2022
Pak vs Eng 2022 – Jos Buttler on England’s arrival in Pakistan for T20I tour

Englanders arrived in Karachi on Thursday morning for their first tour of Pakistan in 17 years and were quickly taken to the team hotel in bulletproof buses from the upper deck of an Emirates flight from Dubai.

The team has been awarded VVIP (Very, Very Important Person) status during their three-week tour, which includes seven T20Is – the first four in Karachi, the last three in Lahore. The Shahra-e-Faisal Road between the Jinnah International Airport and the Mowenpik Hotel was closed to the public, with armed guards accompanying the convoy throughout the journey.

When England last visited Pakistan in 2005, only one member of the squad (Moeen Ali) made a professional appearance. In the years that followed, he has played three ‘away’ series at neutral venues in the UAE and his return for the tour marks a crucial moment ahead of the three-match Test series in December following the T20 World Cup.

His arrival was unobtrusive as he was led with minimal fuss through the back entrance, past the outdoor pool and through the lobby, but his position was not clearly visible: on nearby buildings. Snipers deployed, more than 300 additional security guards at hotels, and at least 5000 additional police officers are on duty across the city.

“Visually, it seems like a lot,” Jos Buttler, who has traveled as captain despite a calf injury that will rule him out of at least the first half of the series, told Touring Media. “It feels over the top, but it’s definitely there to make sure everything runs smoothly.

“As players it’s the initial challenge, just visually, it’s very different. After a day or two you get used to it, focus on cricket and look forward to playing.” They will train for the first time at the National Stadium on Friday night before the first T20I on Tuesday.

Off-field preparations for this tour began almost eight months ago, when England’s last-minute return from the two-match series scheduled last year is still fresh in memory. An ECB delegation traveled in July to review arrangements and the touring party was given a detailed briefing last week, led by security advisor Reg Dickason and Professional Cricketers’ Association chief executive Rob Lynch.

Both men are on team for the start of the series with Rob Key, who served as a broadcaster on the tour of Australia in March, before becoming the ECB’s managing director of men’s cricket, writing in a Evening Standard column that he was “blown away” and encountered “the kindest, most welcoming and kind hosts I had ever experienced”.

Players know what to expect. Just half of England’s 20-man squad has played cricket in Pakistan thanks to the PSL – David Malan, now a senior player in the T20I set-up, was among the first to fly to Lahore for the 2017 final – while Others had experienced the same. High security operation on England’s tour of Bangladesh in 2016.

“Some people had some questions, but it’s great to have someone like Reggae who can answer them,” Butler said. “We have a number of players who have played in the PSL and have been here recently, and that has taken away some of the concerns. When you know people have come here recently and played … it seems that things are fine.”

At the press conference upon his arrival, Butler was greeted by about 25 television cameras and a ballroom—with three chandeliers—filled with local journalists. “It’s great to be back as the England cricket team after a long time,” he said. “We are glad to be here.” In this leg of the tour, he is playing a diplomatic role in the form of a game.

Butler announced a donation – understood to be a five-figure pound-sterling amount – from players to an appeal to the disaster emergency committee, which will be matched by the ECB, amid floods ravaging parts of Pakistan. and left millions of people. Immediate help needed. “It won’t be enough, but any small role we can play is important,” he said.

He drew a parallel with the shortened IPL season in 2021, which began when India were experiencing the brutal effects of a second Covid-19 wave. He said, “I played in that IPL… Whether it was right or wrong, the story was what it was giving people, and it was a little childish to watch an IPL game every night. Sports can do that.

“Sport has a great power to unite people: it has a great power to distract in times of need; it’s a great way to bring people together to show respect. As human beings, we all have Are aware of what is going on around the world like no one else. Just because we play cricket, doesn’t mean we don’t watch the news.

“We know the people of Pakistan are going through a tough time at the moment. We hope we can shed light on that when we are here, and people can see that people need help. Hopefully, cricket Some exciting games will be a small tonic to lift some spirits too.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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