New Zealand calls off Pakistan tour minutes before 1st ODI citing security concerns
Pakistan and New Zealand were scheduled to square off in the opening ODI in Rawalpindi on Friday. However, the visitor has called off the tour minutes before the toss, citing security concerns.
In a shocking and heartbreaking scenario concerning both Pakistan and New Zealand cricket, the latter’s entire tour of Pakistan has been called off. On Friday, the two sides were scheduled to face off in the opening One-Day International at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
As per New Zealand Cricket, security issues led to the tour being called off just minutes before the toss. Both the sides did not arrive at the ground, while the fans were not allowed to enter the venue.
“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,” said NZC in a release.
“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,” it added, while it did not comment on the details of the threat or updated arrangements.
Speaking on the same, NZC CEO David White stated that it wasn’t possible to continue the tour considering the advice he received. Although he credited Pakistan Cricket Board for being a wonderful host, he put the safety of the players ahead with supreme importance.
Meanwhile, PCB declared in its release, “Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have 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 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,” it added.
NZ’s withdrawal puts a significant blow to Pakistan’s plans to host other series at home in the coming months. While NZ was touring Pakistan for the first time in 18 years, its scheduled series against England for two Twenty20 Internationals could be in doubt, given that England and Wales Cricket Board consult the same security agency as NZC.
Also, the Windies is expected to tour the country for limited-overs contests in December. In contrast, Australia is slated to travel to Pakistan in February for a couple of Tests and three ODIs and T20Is each.
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