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Breaking News: New Zealand cancel their Pakistan tour

by  Neel Ashar  •  Last updated on 2021-09-17 21:29:37

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New Zealand has cancelled its limited-overs tour of Pakistan, citing security concerns, leaving the Pakistani cricket community disappointed. Ramiz Raja, chairman of the PCB, was particularly scathing of the New Zealand Cricket move, saying, "It's really irritating to walk out of a tour by taking a unilateral approach to a security problem. Particularly when it is not shared! Which world is New Zealand a part of? NZ will be able to hear us at the ICC."


The three-ODI and five T20I tour were due to begin today, with the first ODI in Rawalpindi, however, no team left their hotel on the morning of the game, and spectators were not allowed to enter the stadium. Following a period of uncertainty as details about the cause of the delay were awaited, the NZC issued a statement saying, "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." The New Zealand contingent in Pakistan is getting ready to leave.


"I realise this will be a setback for the PCB, who have been fantastic hosts, but player safety is paramount, and we believe this is the only responsible alternative," NZC CEO David White said in a statement.

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Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister who spoke with Imran Khan, her Pakistani counterpart, stressed that player safety is first. "When I spoke with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, I conveyed our gratitude for looking after the New Zealand cricket team," she was cited as saying by New Zealand media. "I understand how frustrating it will be for everyone that the game will not be played, but we fully support the decision that has been made. The safety of the players must be prioritised."


The Pakistan Cricket Board is unhappy and said- "Earlier today, the New Zealand cricket board informed us that they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series. PCB and Govt of Pakistan made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand cricket board of the same. The 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 NZ team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Govt of Pakistan throughout their stay here."


The termination of the tour would be source of concern for the PCB ahead of hectic home international season. 

England's men's and women's teams are set to visit next month, but considering that the ECB employs the same security experts as NZC, concerns will be raised. Teams from the West Indies, Australia, and New Zealand are all slated to visit Pakistan during the season.
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