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Minutes Before 1st ODI, NZ Postpone Pakistan Tour Due to Security Concerns

New Zealand were slated to play 8 white-ball games in Pakistan.

Updated
Cricket
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>New Zealand are leaving Pakistan at the earliest.&nbsp;</p></div>
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The New Zealand men’s cricket team’s white-ball tour of Pakistan has been brought to an abrupt halt and the visitors are heading out after New Zealand Cricket received intelligence from their government about a security threat.

The tour was called off moments before the opening ODI at Rawalpindi on Friday.

Players and support staff members from both sides did not come out of the hotel and were asked to stay in their rooms. Spectators were not allowed to enter the stadium. After a period of uncertainty and chaos caused by the delay apart from rumours of COVID-19 outbreak in either camp, a statement from New Zealand Cricket (NZC) was issued.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>New Zealand called off their tour of Pakistan.&nbsp;</p></div>

New Zealand called off their tour of Pakistan. 

Image: PTI

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

"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," a board release from New Zealand stated.

The Kiwis were expected to play 3 ODIs in Rawalpindi and 5 T20Is in Lahore. However, the tour is now postponed. New Zealand last played a five-match ODI series in Lahore 18 years ago in 2003.

Pakistan cricket board on their part said all arrangements were foolproof and that PM Imran Khan too had assured his NZ counterpart.

"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 PCB statement read.

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."

New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills echoed White's sentiments. "We've been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision," he said. "The players are in good hands; they're safe - and everyone's acting in their best interests."

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The situation puts Pakistan in a worrying place as they were expecting to have a busy home season.

The England's men and women's teams are set to visit next month, but given that the ECB use the same security consultants, there will be questions about those tours, reported Cricinfo.

Over the course of the season, West Indies, Australia and the New Zealand women's team are all scheduled to come to Pakistan.

New Zealand, led by Tom Latham, had arrived in Islamabad on 11 September after losing a five-match T20I series to Bangladesh 3-2.

Since the start of this century, New Zealand first came to Pakistan in 2002 under Stephen Fleming. They had to abandon the tour on the morning of the second Test in Karachi after a bomb exploded outside their team hotel. The last time New Zealand toured Pakistan was in 2003 for a five-match ODI series, which they lost 5-0.

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