Pakistan wary of becoming 'no-go' zone again after New Zealand cancel tour

Board chief executive Wasim Khan worried a 'dangerous precedent' has been set

After a decade spent trying get international cricket back in the country, Pakistan is facing the prospect of being declared the game's no-go area again.

A sense of shock and anger swept the country on Friday when New Zealand pulled the plug on their first Pakistan tour in 18 years, citing a security alert.

With the England board yet to make up its mind about what would be their first visit to the South Asian country in 16 years next month, Pakistan's home season looks in disarray.

It is a massive setback for the cricket-mad nation which put in tremendous effort to project itself as a safe destination and won tour commitments from several leading teams.

"It's been pretty gut-wrenching," PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said.

"We've done a huge amount of work in building our credibility back up again in world cricket. The rug has been pulled out from under our feet as quick as that."

Cricket Australia said it was monitoring the situation and would "talk with the relevant authorities once more information becomes known" ahead of its scheduled tour early next year.

"The abrupt departure of New Zealand has left many scars for us, and we just certainly hope that this is not going to have long-term consequences for us moving forward," added Khan.

Cricket left Pakistan after the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore. They team moved base to the UAE for close to a decade before gradually shifting matches and later tours back home.

Test cricket returned to the country when Sri Lanka returned in 2019.

The Pakistan board chief executive added New Zealand's move has set a dangerous precedent.

"It sets a very dangerous precedent if countries can unilaterally just abandoned tours. Then it does affect relationships. Where does it leave us as a sport?" Khan said.

Updated: September 20th 2021, 11:31 AM
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