Ramiz Raja leads Pakistan cricket fraternity criticise New Zealand for abandoning tour

This was New Zealand’s first tour of Pakistan in 18 years and the series comprised three ODIs and five T20 Internationals. Spectators were also to be allowed at 25 per cent of the stadium capacity keeping in mind the COVID-19 factor but everyone was left disappointed with the visiting team’s decision an hour before the toss.

New Zealand cricket officials cited a security threat that the host board insisted did not exist while declaring the pullout a unilateral move. Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also backed the cricket team’s decision to postpone the series at the eleventh hour.

England to assess ground situation in Pakistan after NZ pull out, to decide on tour in next 48 hours

NZC chief executive David White issued a statement to say that it was simply not possible to continue with the tour given the advice he was receiving from his government. The Black Caps have been here since September 11.

“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,” he stated.

“Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured New Zealand Cricket of the same,” read a PCB statement.

“The Pakistan Prime Minister (Imran Khan) spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand (Jacinda Ardern) 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.”

Pakistan captain Babar Azam said he was disheartened by the turn of events. “Extremely disappointed on the abrupt postponement of the series, which could have brought the smiles back for millions of Pakistan Cricket Fans,” he tweeted.

“I’ve full trust in the capabilities and credibility of our security agencies. They are our pride and always will be! Pakistan Zindabad!” he said.

Pakistan commentator and cricket historian also criticised NZC for its decision and tweeted, “Absolutely. We need to voice our concerns loudly. That’s how we have to ensure not being taken for granted. It’s not on. We are behind you and stand in solidarity.”

Former New Zealand cricketer Simon Doull sympathised with Pakistan Cricket Board and tweeted, “Thoughts with you and all cricket fans @iramizraja at this decision mate. You and all fans deserve full disclosure on this matter from NZC or whoever can the relationship move forward.”

“Absolutely gutted for our fans, players and support staff. Pakistan is the safest place and NZ must remember when we turned up to their place on their hard time,” tweeted former Pakistan cricketer Atiq-uz-Zaman.

Senior cricket commentator Alan Wilkins tweeted, “Hugely disappointing that the @BLACKCAPS tour to Pakistan is abandoned. @TheRealPCB has worked so hard in such challenging times to bring cricket back to the homeland, this is a crushing blow to Pakistan’s cricket fans, and will surely impact future incoming tours

Sri Lanka cricketer Dimuth Karunarathna also expressed his disappointment to the development and tweeted, “Sad to note NZ tour of PK has been called off… 2 years ago @TheRealPCB security made sure we were ultra safe thro the entire tour with security protocol generally provided for Heads of State… #NZvPAK #NZvsPAK.”

Former Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi slammed NZC and asked why they pulled out of the tour despite getting satisfied with the security arrangements in place. Afridi tweeted, “I hear from reliable sources the on-ground security advisors were “happy with the roll-out of security arrangements. Can someone in Auckland please explain to the cricket fraternity who made the call to abandon the tour?”

Senior Pakistan cricketer Azhar Ali also expressed his disappointment with the development but also lauded the country’s security forces.

Ali tweeted, “Heartbreaking Broken heart news #PAKvNZ We have full confidence in our security forces and agencies and we are proud of them.. #PakistanZindabad Flag of Pakistan Flag of PakistanFlag of Pakistan @TheRealPCBMedia @TheRealPCB.”

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