New Zealand calls off Pakistan tour for T20 series

WEB DESK: New Zealand has officially turned down the request of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to play T20 international series later this year, local media reported.

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New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chairman Greg Barclay told NEWSHUB, “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 (Pakistan Cricket Board) 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.”

Earier, PCB Chairman Najam Sethi invited the NZC to send their team in Pakistan to play two T20 international matches after the successful demonstration of of Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches in the country.

Asked if New Zealand players were prepared to go to Pakistan and whether New Zealand Cricket would have been able to send a team, Barclay said, “I think that probably would have been difficult for a variety of reasons. We fortunately didn’t get to the point where we had to have those discussions.”

“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.”

In April, West Indies became the first major side to tour Pakistan for a series since 2009, when a terrorist attack on the visiting Sri Lanka team triggered a drought of international cricket in the country. Sri Lanka returned in 2017 to play a T20I match in Lahore – the third and final match of the T20 series which was played in UAE.

The cricket-loving country also safely hosted the final of Pakistan Super League 2017 in Lahore, and the final three matches of the 2018 edition of the tournament. The security arrangements were widely praised by the visiting teams and security experts who reviewed the preparations.

Barclay said the success of the West Indies tour was taken into consideration when New Zealand Cricket made its decision.

“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, I just know that we went through a very thorough process and I’m comfortable with the decision that we got to,” the official added.

The New Zealand will play the scheduled series in United Arab Emirates in the month of october, which includes;  three Tests, three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches.

The invited-country last visited Pakistan in 2003, a year after a bomb blast outside the team’s hotel in Karachi ended their tour prematurely.

After the terrorist attack on a Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009, Pakistan have played most of their ‘home’ games in the U.A.E. since then.

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