New Zealand’s Pakistan tour abandoned due to security concerns

New Zealand has cancelled its limited-overs tour of Pakistan due to security concerns, which is a major loss for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). While the particular nature of those concerns is yet unknown, a NZC news release dated September 17 indicated that the tour has been cancelled and that plans are being made for the travelling party to return to their homeland.

The tour, which will include three One-Day Internationals and five Twenty-20 Internationals, was meant to begin today in Rawalpindi with the first ODI, but neither team left their hotel on the morning of the game, and spectators were not allowed to enter the stadium. “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,” a New Zealand cricket statement said after a period of uncertainty as details about the cause of the delay were awaited.

New Zealand, who were visiting Pakistan for the first time since 2003, arrived in two batches on Saturday and Sunday and were living in a bio-secure environment in an Islamabad facility. Three One-Day Internationals were scheduled in Rawalpindi on September 17, 19, and 21, followed by five Twenty-20 Internationals in Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on September 25, 26, 29, and October 1 and 3. Meanwhile, due to the series’ clash with the upcoming Indian Premier League’s resumption, New Zealand was already missing a number of first-choice players.

The hasty decision to leave would cause concern for Pakistan cricket ahead of a demanding domestic international season. The men’s and women’s England teams are scheduled to visit next month, but considering that the ECB employs the same security experts, there will be concerns about those visits. The West Indies, Australia, and New Zealand women’s teams are all slated to visit Pakistan during the season.