New Zealand turn down invitation to tour Pakistan
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The possibility of New Zealand touring Pakistan for the first time in 15 years has been ruled out with New Zealand Cricket turning down the invitation from the Pakistan Cricket Board owing to security reasons.
New Zealand’s series against Pakistan in October, which includes three Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is, will go on as per schedule in UAE, with PCB’s hopes of holding the T20I leg in Pakistan not materialising.
“At the end of the day, it came down to following the advisory and the security reports we’d obtained. There’s no doubt they (PCB) are disappointed. I think they saw a tour by a country like New Zealand as being a great precedent for them to start to build an international programme back in Pakistan. So they’re disappointed but they’re good guys, we get on really well with Pakistan, and I think they’re fully accepting of the decision that we’ve reached,” NZC chairman Greg Barclay told.
UAE has been the adopted home venue for Pakistan since the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009. For the cricket-starved public in Pakistan, Zimbabwe’s visit came as a relief as the African nation played two T20Is and three ODIs at the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore, although a suicide attack near the stadium during the second ODI caused some concerns.
In September 2017, a World XI side led by Faf du Plessis played three T20Is in the country while a second-string Windies team also played three T20 games in 2018. Pakistan has also hosted a few PSL matches in Pakistan, including the PSL 2017 final and the knockout games of the 2018 edition.
New Zealand last visited Pakistan in 2003, one year after a suicide bombing outside their team hotel in Karachi ended their tour prematurely. With the situation improving in recent years, PCB had hoped that a visit from a high profile team such as New Zealand would convince other teams.
“We’re very sympathetic to the plight they find themselves in, we’re a member of the ICC, we’re very aware that the ICC are trying to facilitate more international cricket in Pakistan and we’re very supportive of that. But all circumstances considered, we just decided circumstances weren’t right for us to tour at the moment,” Barclay said.
“I can’t comment on the decision process that the West Indies went through, perhaps some of the timings may have been different as well,” said Barclay, who added that New Zealand went through an elaborate process before arriving at a decision to not tour Pakistan. “I just know that we went through a very thorough process and I’m comfortable with the decision that we got to,” Barclay added.