England’s Wood says attack on ex-PM Imran worrisome ahead of tour

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LONDON: England’s Mark Wood said an attack on former prime minister Imran Khan was worrying ahead of a three-Test series in Pakistan, but added that he trusted the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to assess any security concerns.

Ex-cricketer Imran, who was ousted as prime minister in April, was six days into a protest procession bound for Islamabad when he was shot in the shin on Thursday.

Wood played in a seven-match Twenty20 series hosted by Pakistan in September and October. The 32-year-old is also part of the England squad that will play Tests in Rawalpindi, Multan and Karachi in December.

“It’s obviously not great is it,” Wood told reporters ahead of Saturday’s T20 World Cup clash with Sri Lanka.

“First of all he’s an ex-cricketer, so it’s close to home for us. It’s obviously hugely sad news to hear that as a group.

“From the security we had (on the T20 tour) I can only mention what we came across and it was fantastic. We were looked after really well but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried by that because you’re going back there when there’s been trouble.

“… it’ll be for people above me to decide whatever happens. But obviously it’s worrying when you’re going back there as a cricketer and there’s unrest in the country. It’s for their country to deal with, not us. We trust our security guys that tell us what to do.”

In September last year, England had followed New Zealand into cancelling a scheduled white-ball tour to Pakistan due to security concerns.

International teams have largely refused to tour Pakistan since an attack by militants on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009 killed six policemen and two civilians.

Pakistan hosted Australia earlier this year and have landed hosting rights for next year’s Asia Cup and the 2025 Champions Trophy.