England’s tour of Pakistan in doubt after New Zealand pull out due to security concerns

England’s tour of Pakistan in doubt after New Zealand pull out due to security concerns

The whole incident has kept the England and Wales Cricket Board on its toes.

Saqib Mahmood of England
Saqib Mahmood of England celebrates. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

England men’s and women’s tour of Pakistan in October has come under the clouds after New Zealand pulled out from their series against the Asian country prior to its start. On Friday, September 17, the opening ODI between Pakistan and New Zealand was scheduled to take place at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.

But when the players didn’t arrive at the venue 30 mins prior to the game, it was assumed that there might be some issues. It was also suspected that problems surrounding COVID-19 might have occurred. The fans weren’t allowed inside venues either. Later, it was learned that the Black Caps were calling off the tour due to security reasons.

“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,” David White, the NZC chief executive, said in a statement.

“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,” the statement added.

The Kiwis’ decision to call off the entire tour didn’t go down well with the PCB. Ramiz Raja, the newly-appointed PCB chairman, expressed his anguish, calling the entire saga ‘frustrating’.

ECB scratching its heads before Pakistan tour

The whole incident has kept the England and Wales Cricket Board on its toes. On Friday, the ECB released a statement, stating that the board is trying its best to delve deep into the manner before zeroing in on a final call regarding the series.

“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,” the statement read, Cricbuzz reported.

The England men’s team is scheduled to play two T20Is on October 13 and 14 in Rawalpindi itself. The women’s team will take part in two T20Is followed by three ODIs from October 13 to 21 at the same venue. For the time being it remains to be seen what decision does the ECB take on the tour.