New Zealand abandon Pakistan tour citing ‘security alert’

New Zealand abandon Pakistan tour citing ‘security alert’

According to New Zealand Cricket (NZC), the Blackcaps are abandoning their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert. The side was set to play Pakistan on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20I series. New Zealand was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003.“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. Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure,” said a statement.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.”The Pakistan Cricket Board 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.However, Pakistan Cricket Board tweeted, “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.”“The security officials with the NZ team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Govt of Pakistan 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 withdrawalInternational teams have avoided touring Pakistan ever since the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, while it was on its way to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore for a Test match.Six members of the Sri Lankan team were injured and six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed in that attack. Pakistan has been mostly playing its home series in the UAE as teams as a result.The country is due to host England and West Indies later this year, while Australia are scheduled to be here early next year.In a statement issued in London, the England Wales Cricket Board said it is monitoring the situation and will later take a call on whether to go ahead with upcoming the two T20 Internationals on October 13 and 14. The matches are to be played in Rawalpindi.“The ECB Board will then decide in the next 24-48 hours whether our planned tour should proceed,” the ECB was quoted as saying by Sky Sports in London.The West Indies tour of Pakistan is scheduled in December and will feature three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals.The Australians are due here in February-March next year to play two Tests, three ODIs and an equal number of T20 Internationals.

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