New Delhi: The New Zealand Cricket Board on Friday announced that their tour of Pakistan has been abandoned due to the security concerns in the country. New Zealand was scheduled to play the first ODI of the tour on Friday itself but the players didn’t train ahead of the clash.Also Read - Massive Bonus For Babar Azam-Led Pakistan Team if They Beat India, Win T20 World Cup
“The side was to play Pakistan this evening in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five match T20 series. However, following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the BLACKCAPS will not continue with the tour,” NZC said in the statement. Also Read - T20 World Cup 2021: New Zealand Got as Good a Chance as Anyone, Says John Wright
New Zealand was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003. The New Zealand cricket board have now started the arrangements for the team’s departure from Rawalpindi. Also Read - BCCI-PCB Discussion on Sidelines of ACC Executive Board Meeting: 10 Talking Points
NZC chief executive David White said the players’ safety is paramount for the board and it chose a responsible option.
“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.”
New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills echoed Mr White’s sentiments.
“We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision,” he said.
“The players are in good hands; they’re safe – and everyone’s acting in their best interests.”
Meanwhile, the cricket board refused to comment on the details regarding the security threat they received.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board also addressed the issue through social media as they claimed that the board and the government of Pakistan have made fool-proof arrangements for the visiting team.
“Earlier today, the New Zealand cricket board informed us that they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series. PCB and Govt of Pakistan made fool proof security arrangements for all visiting teams,” PCB tweeted.
The PCB further stated that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan personally spoke to the PM of NZ to give him security assurance for the visiting team.
“We have assured the NZ cricket board of the same. The Prime Minister spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand 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 security officials with the NZ team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Govt of Pakistan throughout their stay here,” PCB added.
The Pakistan Cricket Board also said that the board is willing to continue with the scheduled matches.
“PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal,” PCB concluded.
The New Zealand team was scheduled to play three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.