In shocking news, New Zealand’s cricket team decides to cancel its tour of Pakistan amid alleged security concerns. The decision was taken by New Zealand Cricket following “escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan.”
On the advice of the New Zealand cricket security advisors, the team will not play the match in Pakistan. Instead, it will now return to New Zealand.
The BLACKCAPS are abandoning their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert.
Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure.
More information | https://t.co/Lkgg6mAsfu
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) September 17, 2021
The tour, comprising three ODIs and five T20Is, was supposed to start today, with the first ODI in Rawalpindi. However, neither team left their hotel on the morning of the game. Authorities did not even allow spectators to enter the stadium.
The NZC said they “will not comment on the details of the security threat nor the updated arrangements for the departing squad”.
“I understand this will be a blow for the PCB, who have been wonderful hosts, but player safety is paramount. We believe this is the only responsible option,” NZC chief executive David White said in the statement.
Will New Zealand play?
The Pakistan Cricket Board, meanwhile, stated they and the government of Pakistan made “foolproof security arrangements” and is still willing to hold the match.
Moreover, Fawad Chaudhry informed that PM Khan spoke to New Zealand’s PM Ardern and assured her that there is no security threat.
“Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan contacted the Prime Minister of New Zealand and assured that the New Zealand team in Pakistan has foolproof security and according to the PCB, the security of New Zealand itself is satisfied with the security arrangements in Pakistan,” the Minister tweeted.
اب سے کچھ دیر قبل وزیر اعظم عمران خان نے نیوزی لینڈ کی وزیر اعظم سے رابطہ کیا اور یقین دلایا کہ پاکستان میں نیوزی لینڈ کی ٹیم کو فول پروف سیکیورٹی میسر ہے اور PCB کے مطابق خود نیوزی لینڈ کی سیکیورٹی نے پاکستان کے سیکیورٹی انتظامات پر اطمینان کا اظہار کیا ہے،
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) September 17, 2021
The minister also stated that Pakistan’s intelligence is the best in the world.
“Our intelligence agencies are among the best intelligence systems in the world and in their opinion, there is no threat to the New Zealand team, however the Prime Minister of New Zealand requested to postpone the visit in view of the policy of extreme caution,” the Minister wrote.
Major upset in Pakistan
The decision caused a major upset in Pakistan. Amid the disappointment, Pakistanis hailed the decision as an embarrassment for the country.
According to Pakistani cricket fans, the decision is absurd as the government took all necessary measures. Moreover, the New Zealand team stayed in Pakistan for more than a week. The last-minute decision to call off the match is preposterous.
The security situation in Pakistan is great and satisfactory. Extraordinary security has been provided to the New Zealand team. After complete assurance and satisfaction, Call for this last minute withdrawal and postponement of the series by NZ is beyond understanding.
— Faisal Javed Khan (@FaisalJavedKhan) September 17, 2021
Moreover, Netizens criticized New Zealand and its alleged “security intel.” They reminded New Zealand of the Christchurch incident where the Bangladeshi team was close to the scene at the time of the shooting.
Interestingly, the news is being labeled as a deliberate ploy to malign Pakistan on the international forum. Pakistan went to great lengths to ensure security for the New Zealand team, at the expense of the population. As the New Zealand team traveled from their hotel to the stadium, authorities provided full protocol which halted traffic, causing inconvenience to the locals.
Breaking news: NZ team management quoting British HC claimed “security threat” and declined to play. Pakistan’s highest security agencies probed, reported “zero threat”, cleared all doubts, gave state protocol and security but to no avail. Is this a ploy to embarrass Pakistan?
— Syed Talat Hussain (@TalatHussain12) September 17, 2021
With New Zealand’s accusation against Pakistan, the hopes for a revival of cricket within Pakistani stadiums seem far away.