There was serious, credible threat on Pak tour, says NZ Cricket players’ association chief

New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association (NZCPA) chief executive Heath Mills has said that there is no doubt that there was a serious and credible threat on the BlackCaps on its now-abandoned tour of Pakistan.

The New Zealand men’s cricket team on Sunday arrived in Dubai after leaving Islamabad on a charter flight. The contingent of 34 players and support staff are now settling into their Dubai hotel and undergoing their 24-hour period of self-isolation. Of this group, 24 will return to New Zealand over the next week or so, as flights and MIQ rooms in New Zealand become available.

“We have a comprehensive security-check process that we complete prior to going on any tour. We’ll always take that seriously and treat it as a serious issue until we can demonstrate otherwise,” stuff.co.nz quoted Mills as saying.

“Once we went through that checking process and spoke to independent people, there was no doubt that it was a serious and credible attack on the tour. Once you hear that you understand there’s no option but for the team to come home,” he added.

When asked about getting the team out of Pakistan, Mills said: “I think because they’ve been involved in the security-check processes, they had been on the ground and felt safe in Pakistan, saw the resources around them and have confidence in our security experts, they knew they were going to be okay while they remained in Pakistan at the hotel. So we just had to work on getting out.”

“There’s been anxiousness, they were keen to leave but they were very calm throughout the whole process,” he added.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive David White on Sunday said that he is grateful to the Pakistan Cricket Board for helping organise the safe departure of the New Zealand team.

“We appreciate this has been a terribly difficult time for the PCB and wish to pass on our sincere thanks to chief executive Wasim Khan and his team for their professionalism and care,” said White in an official statement.

White also said NZC and the BlackCaps had been very much looking forward to the Pakistan series but were faced with no option but to abandon the tour after receiving, on Friday, advice from the New Zealand government of a specific, credible threat. This advice was supported by NZC’s security consultants – who were on the ground in Pakistan, and by other independent sources.

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