New Zealand on Friday postponed a series of one day internationals against Pakistan over security concerns, New Zealand s cricket body and local board officials said, minutes after the first match was due to start.
“New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series,” the Pakistan Cricket board said in a statement.
“Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same,” the PCB statement reads.
“The Pakistan Prime Minister spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team,” the statement added.
“The security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan Government throughout their stay here,” the PCB statement reads.
PCB said it was willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal.
On the other hand, New Zealand cricket board announced in its press release that “The BLACKCAPS are abandoning their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert.”
The side was to play Pakistan today in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five match T20 series.
“However, 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,” the statement reads.
“Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure,” it added.
NZC chief executive David White said it was simply not possible to continue with the tour given the advice he was receiving.
“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 Players Association chief executive Heath Mills echoed Mr White’s sentiments.
“We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision,” he said.
“The players are in good hands; they’re safe – and everyone’s acting in their best interests.”
NZC did not comment on the details of the security threat nor the updated arrangements for the departing squad.