New Zealand have abandoned their Pakistan tour following a New Zealand government security alert, New Zealand were touring Pakistan after 18 long years.
It was a white-ball series, 3 ODI’S in Rawalpindi and 5 T20I’S in Lahore were on schedule, the opening fixture was to start today with the 1st ODI in Rawalpindi. The match was initially delayed, the teams and staff were requested to stay in the hotel and soon New Zealand Cricket (NZC) with a media release cleared speculations regarding the delay mentioning security concerns and the series was called off.
New Zealand Cricket media release : The BLACKCAPS are abandoning their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert. 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.
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. The players are in good hands; they’re safe – and everyone’s acting in their best interests. NZC will not comment on the details of the security threat nor the updated arrangements for the departing squad.
Pakistan Cricket Board statement : 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. 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 is willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal.
Pakistan do talk of rescheduling the series but will be a wait to watch as New Zealand and other touring teams might opt for a neutral venue, security reasons have always been a talk for teams touring Pakistan.
England are next to tour Pakistan and ECB use the same security consultant as NZC and now there’s a question mark on Pakistan-England series, ECB within the next couple of days will take a decision on their Pakistan tour. Pakistan will have to be more convincing if games need to resume in Pakistan.