England’s tour of Pakistan is in severe doubt after New Zealand postponed the series

England’s tour

The England men and women cricket team’s tour of Pakistan in the next month is in severe doubt after NZC abandon their tour of Pakistan on Friday, September 17 after what was being described as a “government security alert”.

New Zealand cricket was touring Pakistan after 18 years and the day finally came when the spectators were waiting outside the ground to see the live-action.

But it all changed in a moment when the New Zealand government gave their cricket team a security threat and just before the toss, not only the match but the series got postponed by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) with a unilateral approach.

Earlier on Friday, the ECB released a statement that read:

“We are liaising with our security team who are on the ground in Pakistan to fully understand the situation. The ECB Board will then decide in the next 24-48 hours whether our planned tour should proceed.”

Parimatch News understands that although England Cricket Board (ECB) has taken the time of two days to announce their decision indications are coming that both England men and women tours of Pakistan will be postponed.

However, there are still chances that the two series will go ahead as there is no official news but a source close to parimatch news confirmed that the series will be called off.

When asked about the tour of England in a press conference today, the Pakistan Interior Minister, Sheikh Rasheed, did not look positive on the possibility of this tour and he said that preparations are made for the England cricket team, it is up to them whether they come or not.

There would be no surprises as ECB uses the same security company as NZC and therefore they will receive the same information given to New Zealand. 

ESI Risk is headed up by Reg Dickason, a vastly experienced security advisor, who the ECB and their players trust implicitly. They are highly unlikely to go against his advice.

The first ODI match between Pakistan and New Zealand was scheduled to play on Friday, September 17 in Rawalpindi but it became suspicious when players of both teams did not turn up with 30 to the start of play.

It became clear that something is wrong with the game. First, suspicions were coming out that there must be a Covid-19 situation but then NZC confirmed that they are abandoning the tour following security threats.

A statement read:

“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.” 

NZC chief executive David White said:

“I understand this will be a blow for the PCB, who have been wonderful hosts, but player safety is paramount and we believe this is the only responsible option.”

The nature of the threat raised by NZC is not yet known by the PCB and the board released a statement shortly that Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan has personally called the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ahern and assured her that no security threat exists.

The New Zealand cricket team had a presidential level of security including Pakistan armed forces to protect them from any danger.

“Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams,”

the PCB statement read. 

“We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same. The Pakistan Prime Minister spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team.”

The decision to abandon the tour unilaterally and not even sharing the threat with PCB caused anger and frustration in the PCB which ultimately came out.

“Crazy day it has been! Feel so sorry for the fans and our players. Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach to a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it’s not shared!! Which world is NZ living in??NZ will hear us at ICC,”

tweeted the newly elected PCB chairman, Ramiz Raja.

The ECB had sent David Snare from ESI Risk to check at the security arrangements made by Pakistan for the tour and at that time no issues were raised in his report.

Considering the report, ECB announced its men and women squad for the series and the men’s squad composed of their full party as an arrangement for the World Cup.

It was a historic tour when the series was announced last year. The England women’s team never toured Pakistan and England’s men team was touring Pakistan after 2005.

The series was a ‘thank you’ to the Pakistan cricket team who visited England at the early stages of the pandemic which played a significant role in floating English cricket financially.

England’s men team is due to play a Test series in Pakistan in the next winter.

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