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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Thanks to PM Khan, New Zealand to tour Pakistan after 18 years

New Zealand Cricket approves Pakistan’s Tour after getting security clearance. New Zealand is all set to play a series of 3 ODI’s and 5 T20 matches in Pakistan after 18 years. Clearly, PM Khan and security establishment's efforts improved the security.

New Zealand Cricket has officially confirmed their tour to Pakistan after the security clearance. According to the schedule announced, Pakistan and New Zealand will play three One-day Internationals (ODI’s) and five T-20 matches from 17th September to 3rd October.

New Zealand last toured Pakistan in 2003 for a five-match ODI series and last played a test match in Pakistan in 2002. This means that New Zealand will be coming to Pakistan after 18 years.

“With leading cricket playing countries resuming their tours to Pakistan in 2019 . . . the series against New Zealand will prove to be a catalyst in rejuvenating our talented youngsters while attracting new fans to the game that has the most passionate following in the country,” Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan said in a statement.

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New Zealand will arrive in Islamabad on September 11 as Pakistan strive to host more international teams at home.

Keeping the covid-19 standard operating procedures in mind, Pakistan will allow spectators up to 25% capacity for the home series against New Zealand in Rawalpindi and Lahore next month. Only spectators who have been fully vaccinated, however, will be permitted to attend.

The three ODIs will be played on September 17, 19 and 21 at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. The five T20I matches will be played on September 25, 26 and 29, October 1 and 3 at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.

Read more: Pakistani netizens mock India over losing to New Zealand in WTC

The ODIs, all taking place in Rawalpindi, will be open to 4500 spectators each. The five T20Is, all at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, will accommodate 5500 spectators each.

“Spectators are the essence of any sport event as they create an ambience and atmosphere for the players to excel, perform and enjoy. In this background, we are grateful to the NCOC for allowing the PCB to invite 25 per cent crowds for the eight matches. I am sure following the NCOC decision, unvaccinated cricket followers will expedite their vaccination process so that they can witness the first series on home soil between the two sides since 2003.” Wasim Khan said.

Unfortunately, several New Zealand team players, including skipper Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Lockie Ferguson will be unavailable to play in Pakistan owing to their involvement in the IPL, which clashes with part of the tour. Tom Latham will captain the visitors in Williamson’s absence.

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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has allowed cricketers to bring their families and support staff along for the New Zealand series to give players a break from the mental stress that comes with living alone in a bio-secure bubble.

Pakistan has not announced its squad for the series yet. Pakistan’s cricket team will arrive in Islamabad on September 8th to prepare for the series against New Zealand. After a day of quarantine, the national squad will start training on September 10th.