England’s tour of Pakistan, scheduled to be held next month, was thrown into doubt on Friday after the New Zealand abandoned their current tour on security grounds.
On Friday, the New Zelanad’s ongoing Pakistan tour was cancelled just before a ball could had been bowled in the first ODI in Rawalpindi.
Following the incident, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has now said that they will decide on whether next month’s tour of Pakistan will be held or not in the next 48 hours.
“We’re aware of New Zealand’s decision to pull out of the Pakistan tour due to a security alert,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying by standard.co.uk.
“We are liaising with our security team who are on the ground in Pakistan to fully understand the situation. The ECB Board will then decide in the next 24-48 hours whether our planned tour should proceed,” it added.
England men and women are due in Rawalpindi for T20 double-headers on October 13 and 14.
Notably, it will be’the men’s first visit to the country since 2005, and the women’s first-ever visit.
Earlier in the day following a period of uncertainty and chaos caused by the delay of the first ODI apart from rumours of COVID-19 outbreak in the Kiwi camp, a statement from New Zealand Cricket (NZC) was issued which said it was cancelling the ongoing tour on a security alert.
Commenting on the development, 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.”
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.
Notably, the Kiwi cricket team was touring Pakistan after a long gap of 18 years. Earlier, New Zealand’s tour to Pakistan was cut short in 2002 after a bomb explosion outside the team’s hotel in Karachi.
New Zealand had last played an ODI series in Pakistan in 2003.