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New Zealand abandons Pakistan series over security concerns

New Zealand had cancelled its tours of Pakistan; Source: ICC.

RAWALPINDI: The cricket series between Pakistan and New Zealand has been abruptly cancelled over security concerns by the visiting team.

The match was scheduled to start at 2:30 PM local time while the toss ceremony was supposed to be held at 2:00 PM. However, visitors were barred from entering the stadium and the players said at the hotel, leading to speculations that the match was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.

It was revealed that visiting New Zealand team had raised security concerns and had refused to travel to the stadium in Rawalpindi, leading to the cancellation of the cricket series. 

A statement by Pakistan Cricket Board said New Zealand Cricket informed about been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series.

It stated that Pakistan Cricket Board and government of Pakistan had made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. “We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same.”

“The Pakistan 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.”

It said the security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan government throughout their stay. It said PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches, saying that cricket will be disappointed by this last-minute withdrawal.

New Zealand is visiting Pakistan for the first time in 18 years to play three one-day internationals and five Twenty20 matches in Rawalpindi and Lahore.

Abandoning tour following ‘security alert’

The New Zealand cricket board said that it was abandoning the Pakistan tour due to a “government security alert”, without commenting on the details of the security threat or arrangements for the departing squad.

“It said that “following an escalation in the New Zealand government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisers on the ground, it has been decided the Black Caps will not continue with the tour,” the statement said, adding that arrangements were being made for the team’s departure.

In the 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.”

New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills added: “We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision. The players are in good hands; they’re safe — and everyone’s acting in their best interests.”

 

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