Rawalpindi, Sep 17 (PTI): The New Zealand cricket team on Friday abandoned its ongoing tour of Pakistan before the start of the first ODI here, citing a security threat which the host board insisted did not exist while declaring the pull-out a unilateral move.
Trouble began when the first ODI of the white ball series could not begin on time at the Rawalpindi stadium on Friday with both teams remaining in their hotel rooms.
New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White eventually issued a statement to say that it was simply not possible to continue with the tour given the advice he was receiving from his government.
“I understand this will be a blow for the PCB, who have been wonderful hosts, but player safety is paramount and we believe this is the only responsible option,” he stated.
The Pakistan Cricket Board, on its part, said that New Zealand had unilaterally decided to postpone the series.
“Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured New Zealand Cricket of the same.
“The Pakistan Prime Minister (Imran Khan) spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand (Jacinda Ardern) and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team,” the PCB said in its statement.
This was New Zealand’s first tour of Pakistan in 18 years and the series was to comprise three ODIs and five T20 Internationals.
New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills said the decision to withdraw is in the best interest of the players. “The players are in good hands; they’re safe and everyone’s acting in their best interests,” Mills said. NZC also made it clear that it will not comment on the details of the security threat nor the updated arrangements for the departing squad.
The PCB said that the security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with the arrangements made by the hosts throughout their stay here.
England to assess ground situation in Pakistan, to decide on tour in next 48 hours
London: Hours after New Zealand cancelled its cricket tour of Pakistan, England’s scheduled tour to the Asian nation was thrown into doubt with the ECB saying that it will assess the ground situation in the strife-torn country and make a decision on the series in the next 48 hours. England are scheduled to travel to Rawalpindi in October for two Twenty20 Internationals, in what will be their first visit to Pakistan since 2005. “We’re aware of New Zealand’s decision to pull out of the Pakistan tour due to a security alert. We are liaising with our security team who are on the ground in Pakistan to fully understand the situation,” the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement. “The ECB Board will then decide in the next 24-48 hours whether our planned tour should proceed,” the statement read further. The cancellation of New Zealand tour is a big setback to the revival of international cricket in Pakistan. Although some international cricket and Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches have been held in the country but major Test nations are yet to travel to Pakistan for full-fledged tours. West Indies are scheduled to travel to Pakistan later this year. Australia are also due to tour Pakistan early next year.