Wed, 20 Oct 2021

Rawalpindi [Pakistan], September 17 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern on Friday before Blackcaps announced that they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan.

Imran Khan assured Ardern that Pakistan has one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team but New Zealand Cricket (NZC) still decided to return home after the NZ government security alert.

New Zealand was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003. The side was to play Pakistan on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.

"Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series. Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. 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," Pakistan Cricket Board stated in a statement.

"The security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan Government throughout their stay here," PCB added.

PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches. "However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal," said PCB.

NZC had said arrangements are now being made for the team's departure. New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills echoed NZC chief executive David White's sentiments. "We've been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision. The players are in good hands; they're safe -- and everyone's acting in their best interests," he said.

NZC said it will not comment on the details of the security threat nor the updated arrangements for the departing squad. (ANI)

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