Shahid Afridi says “educated nations” shouldn’t follow India after New Zealand, England abandoned Pakistan tour

Babar Azam and Tom Latham ahead of first ODI which got cancelled | GETTY

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi expressed his disappointment over New Zealand’s decision to cancel the Pakistan tour due to security concerns. After New Zealand, England also withdrew from the tour citing players’ mental health as a reason.

Afridi felt the New Zealand team should have informed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) if they felt there was a security threat ahead of the first ODI. He added that Pakistan’s security personnel would have assessed the situation if they had made a complaint instead of abandoning the tour.

“We all know that there is a huge amount of scrutiny when it comes to arranging tours. Proper investigations are conducted by the security members of the touring nation. The routes are defined and only when the process is completed, that is when the teams are given the green signal to visit the country,” Afridi told Cricket Pakistan.

“New Zealand cricketers are loved in Pakistan and for them to do something like this is unforgivable. If there was any potential threat, they should have been shared with the PCB and waited for Pakistan’s security forces to assess the situation,” he added.

Pakistan’s information minister claimed that the threat to the New Zealand cricket team had come via an email from India. “This email was generated from India through a VPN showing the location of Singapore,” Fawad Chaudhry had told reporters.

Afridi reacted to the claim by Pakistan’s information minister and said that other ‘educated nations’ should not follow India. “If you have to look at the bigger picture then I think we need to take a decision which shows the world that we are also a country and we have our pride. It’s ok if one country is behind us but I don’t think other countries should also make the same mistake. They are all educated nations and should not follow India.

“Instead, cricket should improve relations. The situation was bad in India. We were getting threats. Our board asked us to go and we went there. Similarly, during Covid-19, the situation that there was in England, the cricket went on. If you trust false e-mails and cancel tours then I believe you are offering them fodder to win. This is not the right way,” he said.

Apart from the financial loss, Pakistan cricket will now have to rebuild its image as a cricket host. They have already suffered for a long time after a deadly attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore, back in 2009.