RAWALPINDI: New Zealand abandoned its white ball series in Pakistan over security concerns, just hours before the first ODI in Rawalpindi on Friday.
A warning from the New Zealand government over the threat perception led to the decision. Following the alert, the visitors refused to take the field and stayed confined inside their hotel rooms.
This was going to be New Zealand’s first international cricket series in Pakistan in 18 years.
No spectators were admitted to the stadium in Rawalpindi after Pakistan’s cricket board received the security advice. At around 2.30pm, the scheduled time of the toss for the day-night match, confirmation came that the tourists would be returning home.
England's scheduled visit to Pakistan for two T20 matches next month is now also in doubt. England are due to play two Twenty20 internationals in Rawalpindi on October 14-15.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said 'fool-proof security arrangements had been made, and disclosed that Prime Minister Imran Khan 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 level of the threat was not disclosed but the development will come as a personal setback for chief executive Wasim Khan who has worked hard to return international cricket to Pakistan.
Cricket has not been the same in Pakistan since a Sri Lanka team bus was attacked by gun-wielding terrorists in Lahore in 2009.
PCB released a statement saying that they were "unilaterally suspending" all the games but Raja warned New Zealand cricket board that the matter will be taken up before the International Cricket Council (ICC) very soon.
“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,” Raja tweeted.
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