The Kiwi cricket team have abandoned their current tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert.
The development took place a few minutes after the the first ODI match between Pakistan and New Zealand was cancelled reportedly owing to security concerns, sources said.
Meanwhile, reports had also suggested that the first ODI of the three-match series was delayed after three Kiwi players had reportedly tested positive for Covid-19.
Commenting on the development, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said in a 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.”
“Arrangements are now being made for the team’s departure,” it added.
On the other hand, the PCB statement said: “Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series.”
“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 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,” it added.
Further elaborating, the statement said: “The security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan Government throughout their stay here.”
The three ODIs was earlier a part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs, however, due to the non-availability of DRS, it will now be counted as just a bilateral series.
While the ODIs was slated to be held at Rawalpindi’s Pindi Cricket Stadium on September 17, 19, and 21, the historic Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore would have had stage the five T20Is between September 25 to October 3.