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Security Threat: New Zealand call off Pakistan tour moments before first ODI

The trouble began when the first ODI of the white ball series could not begin on time at the Rawalpindi stadium on Friday with both teams remaining in their hotel rooms.

India TV Sports Desk India TV Sports Desk
Rawalpindi Updated on: September 17, 2021 20:10 IST
New Zealand cricket team
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

New Zealand cricket team

The New Zealand cricket team on Friday abandoned its ongoing tour of Pakistan moments before the start of the first ODI here, citing a security threat, which the host board asserted did not exist.

The trouble began when the first ODI of the white ball series could not begin on time at the Rawalpindi stadium on Friday with both teams remaining in their hotel rooms.

"The side was to play Pakistan this evening in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five match T20 series. However, 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," stated the NZC in the release.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White then issued a statement to say that 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," he stated in a press release.

New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills echoed White's sentiments. "The players are in good hands; they're safe – and everyone's acting in their best interests," Mills said.

NZC said it will not comment on the details of the security threat nor the updated arrangements for the departing squad.

The Pakistan Cricket Board, on its part said that New Zealand had unilaterally decided to postpone the series. The PCB chief Ramiz Raja said New Zealand will have to answer for the pullout at the ICC.

"Crazy day it has been! Feel so sorry for the fans and our players. Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it's not shared!! Which world is NZ living in??NZ will hear us at ICC," he tweeted.

"Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured 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," the PCB said in a statement.

The PCB said that the security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the hosts 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 is in danger of being cancelled after the first match of the ODI series could not begin on time on Friday at the Pindi stadium," it added.

The series was to comprise three ODIs and five T20 Internationals.

(With PTI Inputs)

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