New Zealand set to return home on Saturday after calling off Pakistan tour: PCB

New Zealand set to return home on Saturday after calling off Pakistan tour: PCB

The PCB chief executive has confirmed that a chartered flight will be arranged on Saturday for the visitors.

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

The New Zealand cricket team is all set to fly out of Pakistan on Saturday, September 18 after calling off their ODI and T20I series against Pakistan. On Friday, September 17, before the start of the opening ODI at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, the Black Caps backed off from continuing with the tour, citing security concerns.

The decision didn’t go down well with the Pakistan Cricket and newly-appointed chairman Ramiz Raja called the incident ‘frustrating’. In the meantime, Wasim Khan, the chief executive of the PCB, has confirmed that a chartered flight will be arranged on Saturday for the visitors.

Khan also expressed his disappointed after how things have panned out. “It is a very sad thing that has happened today,” Khan was quoted as saying in Outlook.

Sheikh Rasheed, the Federal Interior Minister, said that he and Raja had tried to convince New Zealand, but their efforts went in vain. “But they did not agree to it,” the minister said.

Both Raja and the minister stated that New Zealand Cricket refrained from sharing the security threat report with them.

New Zealand backs out after security threat

When the players didn’t arrive at the venue in Rawalpindi 30 mins before the game, reports started emerging. Talks regarding COVID-19 also did the rounds. Crowds weren’t allowed to enter inside the venues either.

Later, NZC released a statement, mentioning about the reasons behind their abrupt withdrawal from the tour. “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,” the statement read.

Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister, mentioned that safety of the players should be on top of the priority list.

Meanwhile, the recent developments have put England men’s and women’s tour of Pakistan in October under serious doubts. Both the tours are set to start on October 13, but the England and Wales Cricket Board is said to be making things clear before taking a final call.