The New Zealand cricket team on Friday abandoned their tour of Pakistan following a security threat issued by their government, according to a tweet by the NZ official cricket board.
Meanwhile, arrangements were being made for the team’s departure, read the tweet.
The first match of the three One Day International series was due to start today at 2:30pm at Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi. However, both teams, Pakistan and New Zealand, didn’t reach the stadium, neither the fans were allowed to enter the place.
“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,” read a report on the official website of NZ cricket board.
According to NZC Chief Executive David White it was 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,” he added.
The report read: “NZC will not comment on the details of the security threat nor the updated arrangements for the departing squad.”
On the other hand the Pakistan Cricket Board tweeted that the NZ government informed Islamabad that “they had been alerted to some security alert”. It added that the guest country has unilaterally decided to postpone the series.
“The PCB and the government of Pakistan made fool proof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the NZ cricket board of the same,” it said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke personally to the prime minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, according to the PCB.
The premier 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," read the PCB tweet.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain confirmed the news on Twitter, saying the premier spoke to the New Zealand prime minister and assured her the security arrangements.
In the series of tweets, the PCB said the security officials with the NZ team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the government of Pakistan throughout their stay here.
It added: “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.”