Some New Zealand cricket team players and staff members have reached Auckland following the cancellation of their white-ball tour of Pakistan. The 24-member contingent flew into Auckland from Dubai on Wednesday to begin their 14-day quarantine at the Rydges. The rest of the squad will remain in UAE before joining the Black Caps’ squad for T20 World Cup.
Notably, the Kiwis had called off the white-ball series against Pakistan just a few hours prior to the start of the first ODI, citing security threats. Although the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) tried to convey the visitors to stay by denying any such threats, the New Zealand team went with their decision.
Tom Latham, who was New Zealand’s stand-in captain for the series, has now shared his views on the whole matter. Latham admitted that the decision to withdraw from the tour was very disappointing for the Pakistan fans and revealed how excited was Babar Azam ahead of the series opener.
“It’s naturally very disappointing for them [Pakistan and their fans]. It was something they were very proud of. I remember doing the captain’s round with Babar [Azam] the day before and just seeing how happy he was to have international cricket and have us there. He was very excited, and it was a historic moment for New Zealand Cricket to be back there 18 years since they were last there,” Latham said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
Latham asserted that things changed suddenly, and they had to act accordingly. The Kiwi captain went on to express his gratitude towards Pakistan authorities who kept them safe at the hotel.
“To be part of that was going to be something special, but obviously, things changed. NZC acted swiftly along with the people on the ground in Pakistan. While we were there after the decision, the Pakistan authorities were brilliant. They kept us safe at the hotel, and we certainly need to thank them,” added Latham.