RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: Pakistan Cricket has suffered a huge blow as the visiting New Zealand have abandoned their tour to Pakistan citing security concerns, leaving the fans waiting to see the current top-ranked ODI side playing in Pakistan.
Following a hiatus of 18 years, New Zealand arrived in Pakistan on September 11, 2021 to play a bilateral series comprising three One Day Internationals (ODIs) and five T20Is.
The first of the three-match ODI series between Pakistan and New Zealand was to take place at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Friday (September 17).
The statement released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that 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.
The statement said that the PCB and the government of Pakistan made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams.
“We have assured the NZ cricket board of the same. The 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 statement said.
The statement said that the security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the government of Pakistan throughout their stay here.
The statement further said that the 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.
The following is the New Zealand Cricket Board’s statement about abandoning of Pakistan tour;
“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,” he said.
“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.”