Islamabad: The New Zealand cricket team on Friday backed out of its Pakistan tour over “security concerns” hours before the first match was scheduled to start at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, The Dawn reported.
In a statement, the Pakistan Cricket Board said that New Zealand Cricket (NZC) informed the board they had been alerted to “some security alert” and unilaterally decided to postpone the series, reports said.
“The cricket board and government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same,” the PCB said in a tweet.
The statement said that Prime Minister Imran Khan also personally spoke to Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, and informed her that Pakistan had “one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind” existed for the visiting team, said reports.
“The security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the government throughout their stay,” the statement said, adding that the PCB was willing to continue the scheduled matches.
“Cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal,” the PCB said.
The New Zealand cricket team had arrived in Pakistan on September 11 for the first time in 18 years to play three ODIs and five Twenty20 Internationals, said reports.
The ODI series against New Zealand will be played at the Rawalpindi Stadium, with matches scheduled for Sept 17, 19, and 21, while the Gaddafi Stadium will host five T20s scheduled to take place from Sept 25 to Oct 3. (Dawn)