New Zealand call off Pakistan tour amidst security concerns
The New Zealand cricket team pulled out of their limited-overs tour of Pakistan, citing security concerns. The tour was to get underway with the first ODI at Rawalpindi on Friday.
The development came to light when the start of the first ODI between the teams was delayed with both teams choosing to stay in their hotel rooms. Even spectators were forbidden from entering the stadium
The Black Caps were in the country to play three ODIs and five T20Is but will now be preparing to head home.
New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White issued a statement to announce the abrupt stoppage of the tour.
"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," White said in a press release.
New Zealand Cricket Players Association Chief Executive Heath Mills added, “The players are in good hands; they're safe – and everyone's acting in their best interests."
While New Zealand Cricket have not commented on the security threat, hosts Pakistan Cricket Board maintained there was no lapse in the security arrangements provided to the visiting Kiwis.
The Pakistan Cricket Board stated that the visitors had unilaterally decided to postpone the series.
"Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured 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."
"However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal," a PCB statement said.
It also mentioned that the security officials traveling with the hosts were satisfied with all the arrangements and were willing to continue with the scheduled matches.
New Zealand pulling out of the tour isn’t the first time a touring nation has abandoned an away series against Pakistan.
In 2009, an attack by gunmen on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team’s players and staff led to several injuries and the abandonment of that tour by the Island nation.
Featured photo : Aamir Qureshi / AFP