'Especially after Pakistan came to England during COVID and helped out the ECB massively. So for them to cancel that tour made absolutely zero sense to me.'
Acquainted with playing in Pakistan, English batter Alex Hales says the England and Wales Cricket Board's decision to pull out of the country's tour last year made 'zero sense' to him.
Hales, who is playing for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), did not agree with England's move to withdraw weeks before the tour scheduled for October last year, citing security concerns.
"That decision to cancel that tour made absolutely no sense," Hales, a white ball specialist, told Geo TV.
"Especially after Pakistan came to England during COVID and helped out the ECB massively. So for them to cancel that tour made absolutely zero sense to me."
"It was only a short tour, only a few T20s so it made no sense."
Now in his fifth season in the PSL, including two seasons disrupted by the pandemic, Hales has more experience of playing in Pakistan than most English cricketers.
"I've been here four or five times now and get looked after really well," Hales said.
"Every time we come here, the people are very hospitable and cricket is always really good. The fans here are crazy for it. So, it's a great place to come and play cricket, I absolutely feel safe."
Hales is in his second stint with Islamabad United, having won the league once with Karachi Kings in the past. He has been one of the league's standout openers, averaging over 44 at a strike rate close to 150.
The ECB and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have since rescheduled that tour and England are now slated to visit Pakistan twice later this year.
They are first scheduled to arrive in September for a seven-match T20I series, in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup in Australia, following which they will visit again for a three-Test series in November-December.
Hales is not a certainty in the England T20 squad for that tour but he is contend at the moment, saying his stats are up there with the best in the world.
"I'm just enjoying my cricket a lot more now," he said.
"I'm into my 30s now so I guess I've matured over the last few years away from the game. I feel like I'm playing the best standard of cricket I (have) played in my life and hopefully, I can keep up for the next few years.
"I think my stats are right up there with the best in the world. So, you know, hopefully, that chance comes around again."