New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday backed her cricket board’s decision to call off the entire tour of Pakistan after a security alert just minutes before the first ODI in Rawalpindi, as the safety of the players was paramount.
New Zealand Cricket said it received a security alert from its government and made the decision to cancel the tour just moments before the scheduled start of the One-Day International (ODI) series.
This was going to be New Zealand’s first international cricket series in Pakistan in 18 years but sadly, it had to be called off after the visiting side refused to come to the stadium and stayed put inside their hotel rooms citing security concerns.
Pakistan were scheduled to host New Zealand for a series of 3 ODIs and 5 T20 internationals in Rawalpindi and Lahore from September 17 to October 3.
“When I spoke with the Prime Minister of Pakistan I conveyed our thanks for taking care of the New Zealand Cricket team. I know how disappointing it will be for everyone that the game hasn’t gone ahead, but we totally support the decision that’s been made. Player safety has to be paramount,” Ardern said in a statement sent to Reuters.
New Zealand’s cricket board said arrangements were being made for the team’s departure back home, citing an escalation in threat levels and the advice of security advisors.