New Zealand abandoned its cricket tour of Pakistan on Friday over security concerns that mystified the hosts, just before the Black Caps’ first scheduled match in Pakistan in 18 years.
New Zealand Cricket said it received a security alert from its government and made the decision to cancel the tour just moments before the scheduled start of the one-day international series in Rawalpindi. Both teams stayed at their hotel.
“Following an escalation in the New Zealand government threat levels for Pakistan and advice from NZC security advisers on the ground, it has been decided the Black Caps will not continue with the tour,” NZC said on its website.
“Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure.”
The Pakistan Cricket Board said Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke personally to New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern and informed her “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 Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same.”
New Zealand were to play three ODIs in Rawalpindi and five Twenty20s in Lahore. Both cities and the security arrangements were cleared by NZC’s security team last month.
NZC chief executive David White said the advice he received made the tour impossible to continue, and he was supported by the New Zealand Cricket Players Association.
The decision was not liked by cricket fans, who slammed the Kiwi cricketers for abandoning the tour at the last moment.