Tom Latham, New Zealand’s stand-in captain for the canceled Pakistan tour, has on Tuesday (September 21) expressed his disappointment at missing out on a “historic moment” after his cricket board pulled out of their first tour of Pakistan in 18 years due to security threat.
Latham also admitted the decision of BlackCaps to pull out of the Pakistan tour minutes before the start of the first ODI in Rawalpindi last week, citing security concerns, was “very disappointing” for the PCB, Pakistan fans, and players.
He also thanked Pakistani authorities and NZC for keeping the players’ safety foremost and for their safe departure to New Zealand.
The tour was called off just before the first ODI after New Zealand Cricket (NZC) CEO David White said there was a “specific and credible” threat – which NZC could not share with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) or the Pakistan authorities, directed at the touring party.
Latham said in an interview released by NZC on Tuesday: “To be part of that was going to be something special, but obviously things changed, and New Zealand Cricket acted pretty swiftly along with the people on the ground in Pakistan.”
On the criticism for abandoning the series, the Kiwi said: “It’s naturally very disappointing for them [Pakistan and their fans].To have cricket back in their country was something that they were very proud of. I remember doing the captain’s round with Babar [Azam] the day before and just seeing how happy he was to have international cricket and have us there.”
The 29-year-old further added, “He was very excited and it was a historic moment for New Zealand Cricket to be back there 18 years since they were last there. To be part of that was going to be something special, but obviously, things changed.”
Latham also shared the details about the interesting 24 hours that led to the cancellation of the series.
The left-hander revealed, “It was like a normal game day. We were leaving at 12:30, and then I got a message on my WhatsApp group that we were having a team meeting at 12 o clock. Everyone was sort of wondering what was up and then we got told the news that we were heading home.”
He signed off by saying, “It was an interesting 24 hours post that decision but obviously NZC and the Players Association, everyone on the ground in Pakistan and NZ Cricket obviously had players’ safety first and foremost.
While we were there after the decision, the Pakistan authorities were brilliant, they kept us safe, we were safe at the hotel, and we certainly thank them. For them to act so swiftly and to get us out here to Dubai was outstanding. I know the guys were very thankful for that.”