The Blackcaps have abandoned their tour of Pakistan, following a New Zealand government security alert, according to a media release from NZC. New Zealand and Pakistan were to play as many as three One-Day Internationals (ODI) and five T20 Internationals (T20I). The first ODI was supposed to be played in Rawalpindi today (September 17).
"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," a release from NZC said.
The arrangements are now being made for the New Zealand team's departure from Pakistan. NZC chief executive David White said it was not possible to continue once they received the advisory from their government. “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,” White said.
The players' Association chief Heath Mills also echoed White's sentiment. “We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision. The players are in good hands; they’re safe – and everyone’s acting in their best interests.”
According to PCB, the Prime Ministers of both countries had a chat and the New Zealand payers and staff were assured of their safety.
"Earlier today, the New Zealand cricket board informed us that they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series. PCB and Govt of Pakistan made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand cricket board of the same," the PCB said in a release.
"The Prime Minister spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand and informed her that we have one of the best Intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team.
"The security officials with the NZ team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Govt of Pakistan throughout their stay here. PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and the world over will be disappointed by this last-minute withdrawal," it further added.
This was New Zealand's first tour of Pakistan since 2003.