New Zealand batsman Tom Latham has stated that his team missed out on a historic moment by pulling out of the white-ball tour of Pakistan as they were supposed to play in Pakistan for the first time since 2003. Latham further added that the decision to pull out was based on players’ safety.
A few hours before the first ODI between New Zealand and Pakistan on Friday, September 17, New Zealand called off the Pakistan tour due to security concerns. New Zealand was supposed to play in Pakistan after a huge gap of 18 years. Sharing his views on New Zealand pulling out of the tour, Latham said that it was a historic moment for both the teams but things changed. He also praised Pakistan Authorities saying that they kept New Zealand players safe.
“… it was a historic moment for New Zealand Cricket to be back there 18 years since they were last there. To be part of that was going to be something special, but obviously things changed. NZC acted swiftly along with the people on the ground in Pakistan. While we were there after the decision, the Pakistan authorities were brilliant. They kept us safe at the hotel and we certainly need to thank them,” Latham stated to New Zealand’s in-house media channel according to ESPNcricinfo.
With Kane Williamson missing from the side, Tom Latham was named captain to lead this series consisting of three ODIs and five T20Is. Sharing the build-up to the decision in detail Latham said that the players’ safety was given first and foremost priority by everyone.
“It was like a normal game day. We were leaving at 12:30, and then I got a message on my WhatsApp group that we were having a team meeting at 12 o clock. Everyone was sort of wondering what was up and then we got told the news that we were heading home.It was an interesting 24 hours post that decision but obviously NZC and the Players Association, everyone on the ground in Pakistan and NZ Cricket obviously had players’ safety first and foremost. For them to get us to Dubai in 24 hours was outstanding so the guys were very thankful for that,”Latham stated.
New Zealand cricket CEO David White had said that there was a specific and credible threat that would be not shared with PCB. Ramiz Raja criticized the decision by New Zealand cricket on social media. Commenting on the match, Latham admitted that the circumstances were very disappointing for Pakistan and their fans. He also shared that Babar Azam was happy to have international cricket in his country.
“It’s naturally very disappointing for them (Pakistan and their fans). It was something they were very proud of. I remember doing the captain’s round with Babar (Azam) the day before and just seeing how happy he was to have international cricket and have us there. He was very excited,” said Latham.