New Zealand pulled out of their white-ball tour of Pakistan just before the start of the first ODI in Rawalpindi on Friday due to a “security alert” and arrangements are being made “for the team’s departure”.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) in a statement said that the team will not continue with the tour following an “escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan”. New Zealand were set to play Pakistan in a three-match ODI series followed by a five-match T20I series.
“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,” New Zealand Cricket said 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.”
New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White justified the last-minute decision and said that the safety of the players is paramount.
“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,” NZC chief executive David White said.
The Pakistan Cricket Board also put out a statement, saying the decision to postpone the series was made “unilaterally”.
“Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series,” PCB said in a media statement.
“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.”
PCB further added that they are ready to go ahead with the scheduled matches.
“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,” PCB’s statement added.