The New Zealand tour of Pakistan has been abandoned due to security concerns just minutes before the toss for the 1st ODI. Black Caps had landed in Pakistan after 18 years to play international cricket. New Zealand was scheduled to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003.
Just a few minutes before the toss, the players were asked to go back to their dressing rooms. The fans were also disallowed from entering the stadium. The PCB said New Zealand Cricket informed them that they are alerted to some security concern and have decided to postpone the series.
“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. However, following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground It was decided the BLACKCAPS will not continue with the tour,” NZC said in the statement.
Pakistan Cricket Board states that the series has been postponed for the time being
PCB said in a statement that they’re willing to reschedule the matches. However, this is unlikely to happen as the New Zealand cricket team is flying back home soon.
“Earlier today, the New Zealand cricket board informed us that they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series. PCB and Govt of Pakistan made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams,” the PCB tweeted.
“We have assured the NZ cricket board of the same. The Prime Minister spoke personally to the PM 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 NZ team were satisfied with security arrangements made by the Govt of Pakistan. 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,” the statement said.
Players’ safety is paramount for the board and it chose a responsible option said NZC chief executive David White
“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.
“We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision. The players are in good hands; they’re safe – and everyone’s acting in their best interests,” NZC Players Association chief executive Heath Mills said.