New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said “there was no way” the New Zealand contingent could have stayed on in Pakistan given the security threat they had received. NZC had made the decision to cancel the tour of Pakistan – which comprised three ODIs and five T20Is – minutes before the first match on Friday in Rawalpindi stating security troubles.
New Zealand’s touring party have now reached Dubai, after leaving Islamabad on a charter flight on Saturday. The squad of 34 players and support staff will undergo a 24-hour period of self-isolation in their Dubai hotel. Of this group, 24 will return to New Zealand over the next week, as flights and Managed Isolation Quarantine rooms in New Zealand become available. The rest of the teammates will remain in the UAE and get together with New Zealand’s T20 World Cup squad, ahead of that tournament which is set to begin on October 17.
“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,” White said in a statement.
“What I can say is that we were advised this was a specific and credible threat against the team. We had several conversations with New Zealand government officials before making the decision and it was after informing the PCB of our position that we understand a telephone discussion was conducted between the respective Prime Ministers. Unfortunately, given the advice we’d received, there was no way we could stay in the country.”
NZC said in a statement that while the general notice of the threat was immediately shared with the PCB, White restated that specific details could not, and will not, be disclosed – privately or publicly. White said that while New Zealand were initially comfortable with the decision to play in Pakistan – their first tour of the country in 18 years – based on comprehensive checks of the security situation, “everything changed on Friday”.
“We went through security assessments and we were ensured of the high level of security that was to be provided,” he said. “And also of the opinion of the number of teams that have toured here recently – South Africa a few months ago, West Indies, Zimbabwe.. so we made the decision to tour there. On Friday it all changed.
“The advice changed, the threat level changed and, as a consequence, we took the only responsible course of action possible. I’m comfortable with the decision we made.”
The PCB remains frustrated over the lack of information that was shared with them – White said the nature of the threat will not be disclosed – with one official saying that opened the door to any side pulling out of any tour without ever having to provide a credible explanation.