New Zealand abandon Pakistan tour minutes before first ODI in Rawalpindi

Tourists cite security concerns for decision, PCB insists 'fool proof arrangements' in place

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New Zealand abandoned their limited overs tour of Pakistan minutes before the first ODI in Rawalpindi on Friday after receiving a security alert.

The Black Caps were in Pakistan for their first tour of the country in 18 years but decided to pull out of the tour following threat alert from the New Zealand government.

In a statement, New Zealand cricket said: "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 Black Caps will not continue with the tour. Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure."

NZC chief executive David White said it was not possible to continue with the tour after the advice from New Zealand authorities. The tour included three ODIs and five T20Is.

“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,” White said.

The Pakistan board, however, insisted that adequate security arrangements were in place and that it was ready to host the matches.

"Earlier today, the New Zealand cricket board informed us that they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series," the PCB said.

"The PCB and Govt of Pakistan made fool proof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the NZ cricket board of the same. The 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.

"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."

Later, PCB chairman Ramiz Raja hinted they will protest to the International Cricket Council against NZC’s decision.

“Crazy day it has been! Feel so sorry for the fans and our players,” Raja tweeted. “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.”

Updated: September 17, 2021, 12:40 PM