New Zealand abandons Pakistan cricket tour over ‘security alert’

The New Zealand cricket team has called off its tour of Pakistan, minutes before the first match was due to begin in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, citing security concerns, both country’s cricket boards say. New Zealand’s team was due to take on Pakistan in its first match on Pakistani soil for 18 years in Rawalpindi on Friday.

New Zealand’s decision to abandon their tour came after “an escalation in the New Zealand government threat levels for Pakistan”. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has said it will not comment on the details of the security threat with plans being put in place for the team to return home. “The side was to play Pakistan this evening in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series. However, following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the Blackcaps will not continue with the tour,” the statement said. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said the tour had been cancelled “unilaterally” by NZC despite “foolproof security arrangements” made for the series, which was due to consist of three One Day International matches in Rawalpindi and five T20s in the eastern city of Lahore. “PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches,” said a PCB statement. “However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal.”