New Zealand abandons Pakistan cricket tour over ‘security alert’

September 18, 2021

The Black Caps have abandoned their tour of Pakistan on the day of their first match after being warned by the New Zealand government of an “escalated” security threat.
New Zealand’s decision to abandon their tour came after “an escalation in the New Zealand government threat levels for Pakistan”. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has said it will not comment on the details of the security threat with plans being put in place for the team to return home.
“I understand this will be a blow for the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board), who have been wonderful hosts, but player safety is paramount and we believe this is the only responsible option,” said NZC chief executive David White.
In December 2019, Pakistan played a Test at home for the first time since the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked in 2009.
With international teams opting not to tour because of security fears, Pakistan have played the majority of their ‘home’ matches since 2009 in the United Arab Emirates, often in front of sparse crowds.
Pakistan assured New Zealand Cricket of ‘fool-proof security arrangements’
In a statement, the PCB said that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan – a former Pakistan cricket captain – had spoken to his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern and told her that “no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team”.
“Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series,” the statement said.
“Pakistan Cricket Board and the Pakistan government made fool-proof 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.
“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.”
Ardern said her government “totally support the decision that’s been made”, adding: “Player safety has to be paramount.”
PCB chairman Rameez Raja said: “Feel so sorry for the fans and our players. Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it’s not shared. NZ will hear us at ICC (International Cricket Council).”
Pakistan captain Babar Azam tweeted: “Extremely disappointed on the abrupt postponement of the series, which could have brought the smiles back for millions of Pakistan cricket fans.

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