New Zealand abandon Pakistan tour minutes before first ODI in Rawalpindi

© SOHAIL SHAHZAD Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam (L) and his counterpart Tom Latham (R) of New Zealand talk during a press conference at the Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, 16 September 2021. The New Zealand cricket squad arrived in Pakistan for their first tour in 18 years to play 3 ODIs in Rawalpindi and 5 T20s in Lahore. EPA / SOHAIL SHAHZAD

New Zealand abandoned their limited overs tour of Pakistan minutes before the first ODI in Rawalpindi on Friday after receiving a security alert.

The Black Caps were in Pakistan for their first tour of the country in 18 years but decided to pull out of the tour following threat alert from the New Zealand government.

In a statement, New Zealand cricket said: “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 Black Caps will not continue with the tour. Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure.”

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NZC chief executive David White said it was not possible to continue with the tour after the advice from New Zealand authorities. The tour included three ODIs and five T20Is.

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 fool proof security arrangements for all visiting teams. 1/4

— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 17, 2021

“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.

The Pakistan board, however, insisted that adequate security arrangements were in place and that it was ready to host the matches.

“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,” the PCB said.

“The PCB and Govt of Pakistan made fool proof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the NZ cricket board of the same. The 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 is willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal.”

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