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New Zealand unilaterally abandon Pakistan tour citing security threats

They are arranging the team's departure

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 17, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Posted: Sep 17, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

A policeman stands guard on the empty stands of the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. Photo: AFP

Pakistan’s One-day and Twenty-20 International home series against New Zealand have been postponed citing security threats, Pakistan Cricket Board has said.

According to the PCB statement, earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed that they had been alerted to some security alert and unilaterally decided to postpone the series.

“Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same,” the statement read.

“The Pakistan 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 New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan Government throughout their stay here.

“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.”

‘Escalation in threat levels’

A statement by New Zealand Cricket said the “Black Caps are abandoning their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert.”

“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,” the statement read.

It said that arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure. 

NZC chief executive David White said it was simply not possible to continue with the tour given the advice he was receiving.

“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.”

The statement said NZC “will not comment on the details of the security threat nor the updated arrangements for the departing squad.”

New Zealand were visiting Pakistan after 18 years for three ODIs and five T20Is. The first one-dayer was set to be played at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium today.

The five T20Is were scheduled to be played in Lahore. England are also scheduled to tour Pakistan for two T20Is in October.

PM Jacinda Ardern defends decision

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern defended the team’s decision to pull out of its tour of Pakistan.

“When I spoke with the Prime Minister of Pakistan I conveyed our thanks for taking care of the New Zealand Cricket team,” Reuters quoted Ardern as saying.

She said she knew “how disappointing it will be for everyone that the game hasn’t gone ahead, but we totally support the decision that’s been made. Player safety has to be paramount.”

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