Jos Buttler hopes Pakistan-England series will lift flood victims

England captain Jos Buttler hopes they and Pakistan can play an exciting series of cricket to lift the spirits of millions of people suffering from the devastating floods in the country.

The English arrived on Thursday for their first tour of Pakistan in 17 years to play seven Twenty20s from next week and prepare for the T20 World Cup next month in Australia. “These are difficult times that the people of Pakistan are facing with the floods,” Buttler said.

“As a team we are making a donation which will be matched by the (England and Wales Cricket Board) also to try and do a small part to help those in need at this time.

Hopefully some exciting cricket games will also be a little tonic to lift the spirits. The massive floods have affected over 33 million people and displaced more than half a million who are still living in tents and makeshift shelters. The water destroyed 70% of the wheat, cotton and other crops in Pakistan. At one point, a third of the country’s territory was submerged.
Most of the England players, including Buttler, are touring Pakistan for the first time. But recalls Alex Hales, Moeen Ali and Liam Dawson have appeared in the Pakistan Super League.

Ben Stokes, Chris Jordan and Liam Livingstone skipped the tour but are part of England’s T20 World Cup squad. Buttler is recovering from a calf injury and is expected to miss a few games. Ali is expected to lead the team in his absence. “We’re in a bit of a unique situation with a few injured guys and we’ll be fit in time for the World Cup, but not necessarily fit here,” Buttler said.

“Obviously the main objective for everyone is to get to Australia fully prepared to go to this World Cup.” England were due to play three T20s in Pakistan ahead of the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates last year, but canceled the tour after New Zealand halted their white ball tour for security reasons.

The ECB’s decision has been called disrespectful by the Pakistan Cricket Board, which has worked tirelessly to convince other leading countries such as South Africa, the West Indies, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Australia to tour after the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore. The port city of Karachi will host four T20s from September 20-25, and the rest will be in Lahore from September 28-October 2.

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