New Zealand Cricket (NZC) CEO David White has said that the board and the team don’t regret their decision of calling off the Pakistan tour minutes before the toss of the first ODI was to happen in Rawalpindi.
White said that they had received a “specific and credible” threat against the New Zealand team from their country’s government and there was no way they were going to stay in the country after that.
The Kiwi team which was led by Tom Latham reached Dubai from Islamabad via a chartered flight on Saturday and all the members of the contingent are undergoing their 24-hour period of self-isolation and 24 of them will return to New Zealand over the next week or so.
The rest will remain in the UAE and join the New Zealand T20 squad, ahead of the World Cup beginning on 17 October.
“We appreciate this has been a terribly difficult time for the PCB and wish to pass on our sincere thanks to chief executive Wasim Khan and his team for their professionalism and care,” White said in a statement.
White added, “What I can say is that we were advised this was a specific and credible threat against the team. We had several conversations with New Zealand government officials before making the decision and it was after informing the PCB of our position that we understand a telephone discussion was conducted between the respective Prime Ministers.
Unfortunately, given the advice we’d received, there was no way we could stay in the country.”
New Zealand had arrived in Pakistan on 11 September for a white-ball series for the first time after 18 years and was scheduled to play three ODIs and five T20 Internationals. The team had a few practice sessions in Rawalpindi stadium under tight security.
“We don’t regret the decision to tour there but it all changed on Friday when the (threat) increased significantly,” White was quoted as saying by Radio New Zealand.
New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZPA) supported the NZC decision to call off the tour.
NZPA chief Heath Mills said: “Obviously for the players and their families it has been an anxious time, there’s no doubt about that. So for them to exit Pakistan late last night and arrive safely in Dubai has been great for everyone. We’re very pleased for that.”
However, New Zealand’s decision to call off the tour has left PCB trying to convince England to tour ahead of the T20 World Cup 2021, as the ECB is reportedly having second thoughts about sending their team for a white-ball tour for the first time since 2005.