New Zealand abruptly abandon Pakistan tour

| NZC Chief Executive says this will be ‘a blow for PCB’ but 

players safety is paramount | It is their unilateral decision: PCB

LAHORE   –  Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Friday that the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) decided to postpone the series due to a “security alert” from their government.

The PCB spokesman said that the NZC has said that they had decided to postpone series over some security issues and it is their unilateral decision. After the toss in the first ODI was delayed, the NZC released a statement saying the team would be pulling out of the tour.

The release stated arrangements were being made for the players to fly back to New Zealand. “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 White, the NZC Chief Executive.

The PCB spokesman said that Pakistan government and the board have made foolproof security arrangements for all the visiting teams. “We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same. Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan spoke personally to New Zealand Prime Minister 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,” he said.

He further said that the security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan government throughout their stay here. “The 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,” he added.

England’s men and women teams are currently due to play two T20Is in Rawalpindi on October 13 and 14, with the women due to stay on for a three-match ODI series as well. In the wake of New Zealand’s decision – minutes before the scheduled start of their first ODI in Rawalpindi – the ECB have confirmed they are reviewing their plans, with a decision expected in the next ‘24-48 hours’.

“We’re aware of New Zealand’s decision to pull out of the Pakistan tour due to a security alert,” an ECB spokesperson said. “We are liaising with our security team who are on the ground in Pakistan to fully understand the situation. The ECB Board will then decide in the next 24-48 hours whether our planned tour should proceed.”

Pak cricketers blast NZ’s unilateral approach to abandon series

The New Zealand Cricket’s unilateral approach to call off Pakistan tour at the last minute citing ‘security alert’ has drawn massive criticism from cricket fraternity in the country.

PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja expressed his disappointment at the New Zealand decision. “Crazy day it has been! Feel so sorry for the fans and our players,” Ramiz tweeted. “Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it is not shared! Which world is NZ living in? NZ will hear us at ICC.”

Pakistan captain Babar Azam also took his twitter handle to express his frustration over the New Zealand’s decision to withdraw from the series. “Extremely disappointed on the abrupt postponement of the series, which could have brought the smiles back for millions of Pakistan cricket fans. “I’ve full trust in the capabilities and credibility of our security agencies. They are our pride and always will be! Pakistan Zindabad!”

Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar came down hard on New Zealand Cricket for calling off the series unilaterally, saying this action of NZC hurt Pakistan’s image before the whole world. “We stand firm with our government, the Pakistan Cricket Board, our Army and security agencies. It is unfortunate for PCB Chief Ramiz Raja, who took over the reins of the board a few days ago. “You have to understand that Pakistan’s image has been damaged. I am not concerned about Pakistan cricket at the moment, I care for the country’s image,” he said.

Vice captain Shadab Khan said successful holding of Pakistan Super League and other teams’ visits to Pakistan was a proof that the county’s hospitality was matchless and its security arrangements were flawless. “This is heartbreaking. Pakistanis love cricket so much, we have worked really hard to bring cricket back here,” he said. All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez said that Pakistan is a safe country. “Postponing series is absolutely sad news for the whole nation.”

Fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi said he was lost for words after the news of the postponement broke out. “Wish I had words to describe my disappointment. We not only have the best security forces in the world but many foreign teams have successfully and peacefully completed their cricket tours in Pakistan. “Can feel for the cricket lovers in Pakistan & around the world,” he said.

Batsman Shan Masood feared that New Zealand’s decision would run counter Pakistan’s efforts to get international cricket back in the country. “Pakistan has made monumental efforts to get international cricket back on track. We’ve lost a lot with no international cricket for 6 years in the past and today might set us back again. “The pulling out and the abrupt timing of the decision is extremely disappointing,” he added.

Fast bowler Haris Rauf said New Zealand Cricket has set a ‘wrong precedent’. “It is not a good omen for the cricketing fraternity, as the county’s security and intelligence agencies are capable to assess any kind of threat.” Pacer Hassan Ali said Pakistan is a safe country. “I assure the cricket fans that the sad feelings will be turned into happy ones.” Fast bowler Junaid Khan said New Zealand should have used another reason for cancelling the tour. “Security isn’t a reason because Pakistan has one of the best Security base[s] in the world,” he said.

Shahid Khan Afridi also took to twitter and blasted the New Zealand cricket team for their decision. “On a hoax threat you have called off the tour despite all assurances! Black Caps do you understand the impact of your decision?” he asked.

Former fast bowler Sikander Bakht also lambasted at the New Zealand authorities, saying their security alert was indeed an excuse to abandon the tour. “They practiced here for five days. Not a single stone was hurled at them. Withdrawing at the last minute is very disappointing,” he said.

He said Pakistan had facilitated countries around the world by playing Test matches in difficult conditions, in England and elsewhere. “We went the extra mile for them, we played Test matches for them. And they are the ones who hit us. I was saying at the time that New Zealand will not come to Pakistan and the same has happened now. For God’s sake, do not help them again,” he said.

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