In a shocking turn of events, New Zealand‘s white-ball tour of Pakistan was called off minutes before the start of play in Rawalpindi, citing security concerns. It has been revealed by the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) that they received intelligence from their government about a security threat, following which the board decided to cancel the entire tour.
“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. Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure,” stated a board release from New Zealand.
The Kiwis were scheduled to play three ODIs in Rawalpindi starting today before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20I leg.
NZC chief executive David White said it was not possible to continue with the tour as the safety of players comes first.
“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,” said David.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said they had arranged top security for the visitors, and Pakistan prime minister also had a chat with New Zealand PM regarding the security arrangements.
“Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the 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. 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,” said PCB in an official statement.