Cricket-NZ set to go home after security scare, leaving Pakistan in despair By Reuters
© Reuters. Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium is under police guard after the New Zealand cricket team pulled from a Pakistani tour. This was in Rawalpindi Pakistan, September 17, 2021. REUTERS/Waseem Khan
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – New Zealand will return home from Pakistan on a chartered flight on Saturday, media reported, a day after ending their first Pakistan tour in 18 years following a government security alert minutes before the opening fixture in Rawalapindi was to begin.
In the aftermath of the attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore by Islamist militants in 2009, which killed six policemen as well as two civilians and left behind two others, top teams are avoiding Pakistan. There is concern that New Zealand’s decision not to return home may make it harder for them.
England is already considering a limited-overs visit to Pakistan in March, while Australia will be visiting next February and March next year.
Cricket Australia spokeswoman said that the organization was closely monitoring the situation, and will “talk to the relevant authorities” once further information is available.
Wasim Khan, chief executive of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), stated in local media that New Zealand would travel via United Arab Emirates after their restricted-overs tour was cancelled.
Khan did not respond to Reuters’ request for clarification. A spokesperson from New Zealand declined to discuss travel plans.
According to Dawn, the PCB already faced “financial losses of millions” after New Zealand pulled out.
“…this blows to the efforts made by the PCB, government and security agencies to completely restore international cricket in Pakistan,” an unidentified PCB official said.
Pakistan is now at risk of losing their home matches in the United Arab Emirates. Former and current players alike are already anxious about that possibility.
Shoaib Akhtar, a former test-bowler for Pakistan, tweeted “NZ just killed Pakistan cricket.”
Ramiz Raja, chairman of the PCB has stated that they will discuss the issue with the International Cricket Council.
Mohammad Amir, pace bowler, also criticised New Zealand’s decision to cancel the tour. He tweeted: “hi new Zealand may b we as Pakistani forgive you because we are loving nations but this act is going to bite you in the future for sure.”
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