Pakistan won’t boycott New Zealand at T20 World Cup, clarifies PCB CEO Wasim Khan

Amid the public outrage, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has made it clear that Pakistan will not boycott next month’s Twenty20 World Cup match against New Zealand after the Black Caps pulled out of the white-ball series at the eleventh hour, citing a security alert from their government.

New Zealand’s pull-out is a big setback to the revival of international cricket in Pakistan, which has not been able to host major cricketing nations on a regular basis in the aftermath of a 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team.

Moreover, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has refused to share details of the security threat that prompted them to cancel the tour on Friday (September 17) in Rawalpindi, moments before the toss for the first ODI.

The turn of events has left the Pakistan fans infuriated and the calls for a boycott of the New Zealand team at T20 World Cup are also doing the rounds on social media.

However, PCB chief executive Wasim Khan on Sunday (September 19) said no such action is on the cards.

“Right now there is no issue of us not playing NZ,” Khan said at a Zoom press conference. “We have a duty to the fans and we have to fulfil that.”

He also ruled out players wearing black armbands in protest.

“I think we just need to be very careful in terms of the perspective. We don’t want to take that route showing any sort of political gesturing and posturing and any sort of visible protest.”

Pakistan and New Zealand are scheduled to clash during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in Sharjah on October 26.

Khan said the abandonment had resulted in “political tensions” between PCB and NZC “because the way it was done was disrespectful.”

In their first visit to Pakistan after 18 years, the Kiwis were slated to play three ODIs and five T20Is in Rawalpindi and Lahore from September 17 to October 3.

According to Wasim Khan, the pull-out has exposed the inequalities in world cricket.

“We have done everything for other countries, our players have sacrificed 14 days of quarantine in New Zealand and went to New Zealand after an attack on the mosque,” he said in reference to the March 2019 attack in Christchurch.

“It’s easy to walk out of countries like Pakistan without any reason, without any dialogue and that has to stop,” he concluded.