New Zealand call off Pakistan tour due to ‘security threat’
New Zealand have abandoned the Pakistan tour just minutes before the start of the first ODI of the series on Friday due to ‘security concerns’.
Kiwis, who were visiting Pakistan after 18 years, had to play three 50-over and five T20I during the campaign.
Due to the alleged security threat, none of the teams left their hotels for the stadium, while the spectators were also not allowed to enter the venue.
After a period of uncertainty, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) issued a statement regarding the chaotic situation.
“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,” it said.
“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 stated in the statement.
However, the Pakistan Cricket Board has denied the news of security threats and mentioned that Prime Minister Imran Khan has himself assured New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about their players’ protection.
“Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same,” PCB’s official statement said.
“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.”
Pakistan’s cricket governing board also mentioned that security experts accompanying the NZ team were satisfied with the security arrangements.
“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 added.
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