The New Zealand cricket team canceled their tour of Pakistan on Friday, just moments before the opening match was supposed to begin at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, citing security issues.
The Pakistan Cricket Board stated in a statement that New Zealand Cricket (NZC) notified the committee that they had been notified of “some security alert” and had deliberately decided to delay the match.
The New Zealand contingent in Pakistan is getting ready to leave. The NZC stated Pakistan had been “amazing hosts,” but that player safety was “very critical.”
The touring board stated that it “won’t discuss the specifics of the security threat or the modified plans for the outgoing squad.”
However, the PCB stated that Pakistan has “foolproof security preparations for all visiting teams” and that it has “assured NZC of the same.”
According to the statement, Prime Minister Imran Khan personally talked with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and told her that Pakistan had “one of the greatest intelligence systems in the world and that no security danger of any sort” existed for the visiting delegation.
“The New Zealand team’s security personnel have been pleased with the security measures established by the government throughout their stay,” the statement stated, adding that the PCB was eager to resume the matches.
“This last-minute withdrawal would upset cricket fans in Pakistan and throughout the world,” the PCB stated.
The New Zealand cricket team landed in Pakistan on September 11 for the first time in 18 years to play three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and five Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).
The ODI series against New Zealand was meant to be held at the Rawalpindi Stadium on September 17, 19, and 21, while the Gaddafi Stadium was set to host five T20 matches from September 25 to October 3.
NZ cancels tour due to security warning.’
Meanwhile, the New Zealand cricket board said in a statement that the visit to Pakistan will be canceled due to a “government security alert.”
It did not, however, comment on the specifics of the security concern or provide any updates on the leaving squad’s plans.
“The team was scheduled to face Pakistan in the first of three one-day internationals (ODIs) in Rawalpindi this evening (Friday), before traveling to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.”
“However, due to an increase in the New Zealand government’s danger ratings for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security experts on the ground, it has been determined that the Black Caps will not continue with the tour,” the statement read, adding that plans for the team’s departure were being prepared.
According to the statement, NZC chief executive David White stated that given the advice he was getting, it was just not viable to continue with the trip.
“I appreciate that this will be a setback for the PCB, who have been fantastic hosts, but player safety is important, and we think this is the only responsible option.”
Heath Mills, chief executive of the New Zealand Cricket Players Association, added: “We have been following this process closely and totally endorse the decision. The players are in good hands; they are secure — and everyone is looking out for them.”