In a shocking turn of events, New Zealand opted out of their limited-overs tour of Pakistan on the day of the opening one-dayer in Rawalpindi this Friday (September 17).
When the two teams didn’t come out for the toss on time, there were speculations made that there could be some Covid positive cases inside one or both teams’ camps and thus there is a delay in the proceedings.
As it turned out, however, the cause of the delay was bigger than what anyone would’ve anticipated. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) confirmed in a media release that the entire tour comprising three ODIs and five T20Is has been “abandoned” due to a major threat on security grounds.
NZC informed via a statement that they are flying their national squad back from Pakistan after receiving an alert from the New Zealand government and their own security advisors at the ground in Rawalpindi.
“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,” the NZC stated. “Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure.”
The BLACKCAPS are abandoning their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert.
Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure.
More information | https://t.co/Lkgg6mAsfu
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) September 17, 2021
“Player safety is paramount”, says New Zealand CEO after Pakistan tour abandonment
David White, the NZC chief executive, stated on his part, that it was impossible for the Pakistan tour to continue after a security alert from the government officials and escalation in the threat that they recorded and informed the board of.
White was sympathetic towards the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) following their last-minute withdrawal but stressed they had no else option.
“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,” he said.
Heath Mills, the New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association CEO, said he is ” fully supportive of the decision” taken by NZC, finding it in the best interest of everyone involved.
New Zealand were due to play three ODIs on September 17, 19 and 21 in Rawalpindi before moving across to Lahore for five T20Is, scheduled on September 25, 26, 29, October 1 and 3.