The New Zealand cricket team on Friday cancelled their Pakistan tour at the last minute after receiving a security alert from its government. The two teams were set to face off in three ODIs and five T20Is. The first ODI was to take place at Rawalpindi on September 17, 3:00 PM IST.
While many former and current Pakistan cricketers slammed New Zealand for their sudden abandonment and expressed their disappointment of missing the exciting series, a few stood by New Zealand’s decision to protect their players first.
“Following an escalation in the New Zealand government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisers on the ground, it has been decided the Black Caps will not continue with the tour,” stated NZC on its website. Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister who had a discussion with Prime Minister Imran Khan made sure that players safety is utmost important and thanked the Govt. of Pakistan for taking care of the New Zealand cricket team. The PCB expressed their frustration by calling a “unilateral” decision by New Zealand to postpone the series. While Shahid Afridi claimed the security alert a ‘joke’, Shoaib Akhtar on his twitter handle wrote – “NZ just killed Pakistan Cricket” along with angry emojis.
This was going to be New Zealand’s first international cricket series at Pakistan after 18 years but unfortunately, it had to be called off after citing security concerns. The PCB is willing to reschedule the matches but it won’t be happening anytime soon as the Kiwis are flying back home soon. Let us hope that the issue gets resolved quickly and cricket returns to Pakistan like the old days.