A day after abandoning their entire tour of Pakistan, the 33-member New Zealand squad has left for Dubai on a chartered flight from Islamabad on Saturday evening. The Kiwi players and officials had to undergo rapid COVID-19 testing at the airport and after all the reports came negative, they were allowed to board the flight.
Sending the cricketing world in shock, the Black Caps called off their tour, which comprised three ODIs and five T20Is, on Friday minutes before the first ODI was supposed to start in Rawalpindi, citing security concerns.
The New Zealand Cricket (NZC) board claimed that they had received news from their government about a security threat in Pakistan and hence decided that the players won’t take the field. Both the teams didn’t leave the hotel on Friday.
“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,” the NZC said in a released statement on Friday.
Till now, neither the New Zealand board nor their government has shared the nature of the threat with the PCB or the Pakistan government.
NZ will hear us at ICC: PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja
Ramiz Raja, the newly-elected PCB chairman, didn’t mince any words while slamming the NZC for cancelling their Pakistan tour at the 11th hour.
Taking to Twitter, Ramiz Raja, the former captain who was appointed the new chairman a few days ago, clarified that the visitors have “unilaterally” taken the step to cancel the series and have not shared the security threat news with the PCB. Raja said he will be taking the matters to the ICC.
“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 Raja tweeted.
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 Raja (@iramizraja) September 17, 2021
This will now become a major roadblock for the PCB as they have slowly tried to bring international cricket back to Pakistan in the past few years. England, Australia, and West Indies are scheduled to tour the Asian country in the coming months. England’s tour next month has come under serious doubt; the ECB will make their decision in a couple of days.