The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has confirmed that New Zealand players will be flown out of the country in a chartered plane on Saturday. The Black Caps’ first tour in 18 years was cancelled after the New Zealand Government was made aware of security threats in Pakistan.
On Friday, just a few minutes prior to the start of the first ODI, the players were requested to stay back in their dressing rooms. Even spectators weren’t allowed which raised plenty of concerns. Soon, news came out that the tour was being called off due to security issues.
“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,” New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive David White said.
Newly-appointed PCB chairman Ramiz Raja and Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed mentioned that they were kept in the dark by the NZC regarding the security threat report. This wasn’t well-received by former Pakistan players and fans who believe the consequences of this late withdrawal will only worsen.
Ramiz Raja has threatened New Zealand of consequences
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja expressed disappointment and anger at the Black Caps’ decision to abandon the tour. There were as many as 4000 policemen and a few commandos of the Pakistan Army’s Special Services Group (SSG) deployed for the matches to be held at Pindi cricket stadium.
“Crazy day it has been! Feel so sorry for the fans and our players. 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,” Ramiz said.
Following the Kiwi’s decision, England men’s and women’s tour of Pakistan starting next month is now at risk of being cancelled.