England’s T20 tour of Pakistan next month in doubt after New Zealand abandoned their white ball series there over security concerns just hours before first ODI in Rawalpindi
- New Zealand abandoned their white ball tour of Pakistan on security grounds
- Decision came just hours before the first one-day game in Rawalpindi
- It has thrown England’s visit to Pakistan next month for two T20s into doubt
- Games in Rawalpindi on October 14-15 were part of T20 World Cup build-up
- Warning from New Zealand government over threat level led to the decision
England’s tour of Pakistan next month was thrown into doubt today after New Zealand abandoned their own international series there on security grounds.
The New Zealanders did not leave their hotel for the first one-day international and no spectators were admitted to the stadium in Rawalpindi after the country’s cricket board received security advice.
At around 2.30pm, the scheduled time of the toss for the day-nighter, confirmation came that the tourists would be returning home before a ball had been bowled.
New Zealand’s white ball tour of Pakistan has been abandoned following a security alert
England’s scheduled visit to Pakistan for two T20 matches next month is now in doubt
The first one day international between New Zealand and Pakistan was called off on Friday
‘The BLACKCAPS are abandoning their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert,’ read a New Zealand Cricket statement.
‘The side was to play Pakistan this evening 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.
Soldiers stand guard outside the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi amid security concerns
New Zealand will now make plans to leave Pakistan following the cancellation of their tour
‘Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure.’
NZC chief executive David White added: ‘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.’
England are due to play two Twenty20 internationals in Rawalpindi on October 14-15 when the England women’s team tours simultaneously.
In response, the Pakistan Cricket Board said ‘foolproof security arrangements had been made, and added: ‘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 security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan Government throughout their stay here.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said stringent security measures were in place for the tour
Stumps are removed from the wicket at the Pindi Cricket Stadium after the abandonment
‘PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal.’
New Zealand were scheduled to play three one-day internationals followed by a five-match Twenty20 series but arrangements were today being made to fly them home as soon as possible.
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.’
The level of the threat was not disclosed by NZC but the development will come as a huge blow to a Pakistan hierarchy – including their British chief executive Wasim Khan – who have worked so hard to return international cricket to their country following a decade of reluctance from opponents in the aftermath of the Sri Lanka team bus being attacked by gun-wielding terrorists in Lahore in 2009.
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