The New Zealand cricket team on Friday backed out of its tour of Pakistan over security concerns hours before the primary match was scheduled to start out at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
In a statement, the Pakistan Cricket Board said that New Zealand Cricket (NZC) informed the board that they had been alerted to “some security alert” and unilaterally decided to postpone the series.
“The cricket board and government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. we’ve assured NZC of an equivalent ,” the PCB said.
More details ⬇️ https://t.co/ni0G7FtwfH
— PCB Media (@TheRealPCBMedia) September 17, 2021
The statement said that Prime Minister Imran Khan also personally spoke to Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of latest Zealand, and informed her that Pakistan had “one of the simplest intelligence systems within the world which no security threat of any kind” existed for the visiting team.
“The security officials with the New Zealand team are satisfied with security arrangements made by the govt throughout their stay,” the statement said, adding that the PCB was willing to continue the matches.
“Cricket lovers in Pakistan and round the world are going to be disappointed by this eleventh hour withdrawal,” the PCB said.
The New Zealand cricket team had arrived in Pakistan on 9/11 for the primary time in 18 years to play three ODIs and five Twenty20 Internationals.
The ODI series against New Zealand was alleged to be played at the Rawalpindi Stadium, with matches scheduled for Sept 17, 19, and 21, while the Gaddafi Stadium was slated to host five T20s from Sept 25 to Oct 3.
NZ says abandoning tour following ‘security alert’
Meanwhile, the New Zealand cricket board said during a statement that it had been abandoning the Pakistan tour thanks to a “government security alert”.
However, it didn’t discuss the small print of the safety threat or updated arrangements for the departing squad.
“The side was to play Pakistan tonight (Friday) within the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.
“However, following an escalation within the New Zealand government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisers on the bottom , it’s been decided the Black Caps won’t continue with the tour,” the statement said, adding that arrangements were being made for the team’s departure.
The BLACKCAPS are abandoning their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert.
Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure.
More information | https://t.co/Lkgg6mAsfu
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) September 17, 2021
In the statement, NZC chief executive David White said it had been simply impossible to continue with the tour given the recommendation he was receiving.
“I understand this may be a blow for the PCB, who are wonderful hosts, but player safety is paramount and that we believe this is often the sole responsible option.”
New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills added: “We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the choice . The players are in good hands; they’re safe — and everyone’s acting in their best interests.”