New Zealand pull out of Pakistan tour citing security concern

Rawalpindi : New Zealand on Friday pulled out of the ongoing tour of Pakistan after they received intelligence from their government about a security threat.

Black Caps were set to play three ODIs and five T20Is across Rawalpindi and Lahore as part of their tour of Pakistan. However, after the toss in the first ODI was delayed, New Zealand Cricket released a statement saying the team would be pulling out of the tour.

The statement also stated that arrangements were being made for the players to fly back to New Zealand.

“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,” said New Zealand Cricket.

NZC chief executive David White said it was simply not possible to continue with the tour given the advice he was receiving.

“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 White.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board said foolproof security arrangements had been in place for New Zealand, just like other visiting teams and the decision by the NZC would disappoint cricket lovers.

“Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series. 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 PCB said in a statement.

‘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,’ it added.

The tour’s cancellation could be a significant blow to PCB’s attempts to reinstate international cricket fully in the country after a lengthy period of isolation from the circuit in the aftermath of the 2009 militant attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus.

Pakistan is also due to host England and West Indies later this year, while Australia are scheduled to be here early next year and this cancellation may also have a bearing on that.