'Did you come to create drama?' - Twitter reacts on New Zealand's Pakistan tour pull out

‘Did you come to create drama?’ – Twitter reacts on New Zealand’s Pakistan tour pull out

The series comprised of three ODIs and five T20Is.

New Zealand Cricket Team
New Zealand Cricket Team. (Photo by MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

In a major blow to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), New Zealand called off their limited-overs tour moments before the scheduled start of the first ODI on September 17 in Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.

New Zealand, who were touring Pakistan for the first time since 2003, had touched down the venue in two batches on Saturday and Sunday and were staying in an Islamabad facility in a bio-secure environment. However, security concerns led to the cancellation of the tour at the last moment.

“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,” a press release from New Zealand Cricket stated.

The tour comprised of three ODI, which were to be played in Rawalpindi on September 17, 19 and 21, followed by five T20Is, scheduled on September 25, 26, 29, and October 1 and 3 in Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.

Meanwhile, arrangements for the players are being made to fly back to New Zealand.

Player safety paramount, cancellation the only option: NZC chief

Terming the players’ safety paramount, NZC chief executive David White said it was simply not possible to continue with the tour given the advice he was receiving. “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.”

New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills echoed Mr White’s sentiments. “We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision,” he said. “The players are in good hands; they’re safe – and everyone’s acting in their best interests.”

In response, a PCB statement clarified that the New Zealand team “have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan Government throughout their stay here.”

“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,” it added.

New Zealand’s decision to opt-out of the tour comes at a time when international cricket is gradually marking its return in Pakistan after being in a slump for a decade due to the infamous attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore during their 2009 tour.