The New Zealand men’s cricket team’s white-ball tour of Pakistan has been brought to an abrupt halt and the visitors are heading out after New Zealand Cricket received intelligence from their government about a security threat.
The tour was called off moments before the opening ODI at Rawalpindi on Friday.
"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 board release from New Zealand stated.
The Kiwis were expected to play 3 ODIs in Rawalpindi and 5 T20Is in Lahore. However, the tour is now postponed. New Zealand last played a five-match ODI series in Lahore 18 years ago in 2003.
Pakistan cricket board on their part said all arrangements were foolproof and that PM Imran Khan too had assured his NZ counterpart.
"The security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan Government throughout their stay here," a PCB statement read.
"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."
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 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."
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