New Zealand have abandoned their tour of Pakistan following a "security alert" they received ahead of the series opener. As a result, the entire 3 ODIs and 5 T20Is in the Black Caps’ outing stands cancelled. The Pakistan Cricket Board took to social media to inform about the same after the toss of the first ODI between the sides didn’t take place on its scheduled time.
Earlier, reports suggested that there was a delay in the start of the game, however, later PCB cleared the air on the issue with a release on Twitter. The hosting cricket body informed that New Zealand Cricket had received a security alert and therefore it unilaterally decided to postpone the series.
Minutes after PCB’s revelation, NZC too took to Twitter and said: “The BLACKCAPS are abandoning their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert… Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure.” Notably, this was the first time in 18 years that New Zealand cricket team had travelled to Pakistan.
In a release, the Black Caps clarified that the decision to abandon the entire tour was made “following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground”.
“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,” said NZC chief executive David White.
Meanwhile, New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills said: “We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision… The players are in good hands; they’re safe – and everyone’s acting in their best interests.”
On the other hand, PCB reiterated that the government of Pakistan along with the hosting cricket body made “fool proof security arrangements” for all visiting teams. “We have assured the NZ cricket board of the same. The 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,” it said, adding, “The security officials with the NZ team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Govt of Pakistan throughout their stay here.” PCB also stated that it is willing to continue the scheduled matches.