Minutes ahead of the start of the first ODI between Pakistan and New Zealand in Rawalpindi, the entire white-ball tour of the the Blackcaps was called off due to security concerns. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is now making arrangements for the departure of the players.
New Zealand's white-ball series against hosts Pakistan was called off minutes before its start in Rawalpindi on Friday. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) in its statetement cited security concerns as the reason for the massive decision and added that arrangements for departure of the players are being done.
"The side was to play Pakistan this evening in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five match T20 series. However, 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 BLACKCAPS will not continue with the tour. Arrangements are now being made for the team's departure," NZC said in a statement.
However, the board refrained from giving details about the security threat and the updated arrangements for the departing squad.
The BLACKCAPS are abandoning their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert.— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) September 17, 2021
Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure.
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A statement from Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said that New Zealand "unilaterally decided to postpone the series" despite PM Imran Khan personally talking to his counterpart and ensuring her of players' safety.
"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. PCB and Govt of Pakistan made fool proof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand 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.
"The security officials with the NZ team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Govt of Pakistan throughout their stay here. PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and world over will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal," PCB said in a statement.
Notably, New Zealand were touring Pakistan for an international cricket series for the first time since 2003. Pakistan and New Zealand were scheduled to play 3 ODIs and 5 T20Is in Rawalpindi and Lahore from September 17 to October 3.