In a massive setback to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), limited-overs series between New Zealand and Pakistan has been called off due to security concerns. This was New Zealand’s first visit to Pakistan after 18 years and the teams were set to clash in three ODIs and five T20Is. Arrangements are now being made to safely evacuate New Zealand players from Pakistan. The development was confirmed by New Zealand Cricket Board (NZC) in a media release.
NZC chief executive David White revealed the tour could not go ahead after the advice he was getting by the New Zealand security agencies. He also said that NZC will not comment on the details of the security threat.
“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 said, ” 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.”
Earlier, there were reports that few members of the New Zealand team tested positive for COVID-19 which is why the series has been cancelled. However, it turned out to be mere rumours. The news comes as a massive setback to Pakistan, who’s set to host England and Australia in the coming months. For over a decade, Pakistan was deprived of hosting matches in their country due to the attack on Sri Lanka team in 2009.
However, things started to improve after teams like Zimbabwe, West Indies and South Africa toured the country. But this New Zealand pulling out of Pakistan series is a massive blow to PCB. It will be interesting to see if England and Australia go ahead with their tours or not.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also released a statement and said that New Zealand cancelled the tour despite Pakistan PM Imran Khan assuring fool proof security.
“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 New Zealand 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 world over will be disappointed by this last-minute withdrawal,” said PCB in a statement.