Kane Williamson believes that the New Zealand players will be gutted for not being able to play the white-ball series in Pakistan due to security concerns. New Zealand cancelled the white-ball tour of Pakistan comprising three ODIs and five T20Is just before the start of the first ODI.
New Zealand had arrived in Pakistan for the first time since 2003 and were gearing up to play three-match ODI series in Rawalpindi followed by five-match T20I series in Lahore. However, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) decided to cancel the entire tour just before the start of the first ODI citing security threats to their players. New Zealand stuck to their decision to opt despite Pakistan PM Imran Khan ensuring the team's safety and that has not gone down with the host nation. While former cricketers have accused New Zealand of shaming Pakistan cricket, PCB chief Ramiz Raja has declared that the matter would be taken to the ICC for hearing.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who didn’t travel with the team, hopes that the decision does not have a lasting impact on Pakistan cricket.
“They were obviously over there, ready to go to the ground. It is a sudden thing that happened. I certainly hope there is no lasting impact from it because it is a special place for cricket to be and there have been a lot of strides forward to see cricket go back into Pakistan and play there safely. We have seen that happen on a number of occasions, so hopefully, there is plenty more cricket there to come.
"I don’t know the details of what happened in Pakistan, as it was a sudden call, but obviously, a real shame. Cricket in Pakistan is an amazing thing and so well supported. There is so much passion there and I think the guys will be gutted to not have started and playing the whole series. But I am not sure of the details since I am in Dubai for the IPL. I will find out a bit more about it over the next few days,” Williamson told Sportstar.
Williamson further added that the passion for cricket in Pakistan is high and he believed the team was looking forward to the series.
“I certainly hope not. You want to be playing the game in all countries. It is an international game and there is so much passion for it around the world, particularly in Pakistan. It was really exciting to see the series go back there and I know our team was looking forward to it. The players’ safety is paramount and when you hear messages going through from the government, it is certainly above the players’ heads.
Williamson is currently in UAE for the second leg of the IPL 2021 to lead Sunrisers Hyderabad, who are currently on the last points as they have won only one match out of seven games played so far. They will restart their campaign against Delhi Capitals on September 22 in Dubai.