New Zealand’s first tour of Pakistan in 18 years which consisted of three ODIs and five T20 Internationals was cancelled due to security concerns. Notably, the tour was scheduled to begin on 17 September with a One Day International game at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. Meanwhile, PCB CEO Wasim Khan feels that if teams can travel to Bangladesh in the wake of a serious bomb blast they can also expect a positive response.
New Zealand Cricket CEO David White in a statement told that there was a ‘ credible threat’ against the Blackcaps which resulted in the cancellation of the tour. Also, he admitted that the New Zealand Cricket ( NZC) was initially satisfied with security arrangements made by Pakistan.
“The advice changed, the threat level changed. We were advised this was a specific and credible threat against the team,” White said. “Specific details could not, and will not, be disclosed —privately or publicly,” he said in a statement released by the NZC.
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja has written a letter to the NZC: PCB CEO Wasim Khan
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in a letter and virtual briefing with the media told that PCB wants to know the exact security concerns which resulted in NZC cancelling the series. Wasim Khan revealed that PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja had written the letter to NZC asking for the threat content they received.
“PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja has written a letter to the NZC and I am demanding through this media conference that the Kiwis must share the threat content they received with our security experts so the intensity of that could be judged.”
“So far, I can only confirm that I received a call at 3 am Friday, September 17, the day when first ODI was scheduled, with head of security consultant R Dickason informing me that a report had landed on the NZ government desk through their security agencies that there is a serious threat to NZ team and that the threat was direct and imminent on that particular day.”
“The threat came from ‘Five Eyes’ alliance (USA, England, Australia, Canada and NZ) and reached NZ high officials. Pakistan, having the top resources in intelligence agencies, rejects any such threat. To our huge disappointment, nothing has been shared with us as yet.”
We expect some dialogue between our security agencies: Wasim Khan
Wasim Khan also added that he expects security agencies of both the nation to have a conversation. Also, he highlighted things were going smoothly at Pindi Stadium before the series was called off.
“We expect some dialogue between ours security agencies. Had that information been shared with us there and then, we were in a position to make clear to the NZ government as to what we could do to mitigate that. Everything was going on smoothly with the teams regularly training at the Pindi Stadium before such a decision was taken”
The CEO of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Wasim Khan stated that the decision by New Zealand cricket has raised a question mark over the credibility of Pakistan to host the cricket games.
“NZ Board’s one-sided decision has left us with no choice but to look seriously at the credibility of such boards’ decision. This decision has affected our cricketing credibility.”
“At this point of time, no one knows exactly what kind of threats these were and why sitting thousand miles away the NZ government has taken such a decision without realising the ground realities and implication such a pull out would be having on the future of international cricket.”
The CEO of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Wasim Khan hoped that as they have got a ‘clean chit’ from a security perspective England men and women’s teams would take a tour to Pakistan.
“From security perspective, there is a clean chit. We hope for a positive response from the ECB as nothing has changed. If teams could take a tour of Bangladesh in the wake of a serious bomb blast, we also expect a positive response with nothing happening here. We hope that in wake of tight security we have offered to all our guests including the Royal couple last year, ECB would go ahead with the tour.”
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka teams that are to play qualifying rounds are willing to come: PCB CEO Wasim Khan
PCB revealed that Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are willing to come for the tour but due to limited availability of time it’s difficult to adjust these tours.
“Bangladesh and Sri Lanka teams that are to play qualifying rounds are willing to come. But the time is too short now before the World Cup T20 as they are to be in Oman within the next few weeks to play the qualifying round and we also have England to host. So practically it is difficult to adjust these tours before the mega event.”
Further, Wasim Khan ruled out boycotting playing against New Zealand in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021 event.
“We would fulfill the ICC obligations as we continue and believe in good relations with the cricketing fraternity around. We have struggled hard to bring international cricket back to Pakistan all these years so we would not sit in peace till the time we reach bottom of this disrespectable decision taken by the NZ Board.”
“This inequality has to stop in world cricket. Every human being’s life is important. We could have taken any decision following terrorists’ attacks on mosques in New Zealand also involving Bangladesh players. Yet we dared and took the tour to New Zealand.”