New Zealand have called off their limited-overs tour of Pakistan because of security concerns.
The tour, comprising three ODIs and five T20Is, was supposed to start today, with the first ODI in Rawalpindi, but neither team left their hotel on the morning of the game, and spectators were not allowed to enter the stadium.
After a period of uncertainty, as details regarding the cause of the delay were awaited, a New Zealand cricket statement was issued, 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 now preparing to leave the country. The NZC, however, said they “will not comment on the details of the security threat nor the updated arrangements for the departing squad”.
“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,” NZC chief executive David White said in the statement.
The Pakistan Cricket Board, meanwhile, stated they and the government of Pakistan had made “foolproof security arrangements”.
“The security officials with the NZ team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Govt of Pakistan throughout their stay here. The Prime Minister [Imran Khan] spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand [Jacinda Ardern] 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 is willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and the world over will be disappointed by this last-minute withdrawal.” (espncricinfo)