On Friday, the New Zealand Cricket Team abandoned its ongoing tour to Pakistan before the start of the first ODI slated to take place in Rawalpindi. The visitors pulled out from Pakistan vs New Zealand series citing security threats, which the PCB asserted did not exist. Now, cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle and Pakistan's former speedster Shoaib Akhtar have reacted to developments.
Harsha Bhogle took to his Twitter account and called New Zealand pulling out of the series 'huge'. Bhogle also stated that the visitors pulling out of Pakistan vs New Zealand series due to security reasons will also impact other teams touring there.
Huge news this, about New Zealand pulling out of their tour of Pakistan and heading back home. Feel for cricket lovers in Pakistan but since this is because of a perceived security threat, it will impact other teams touring there too— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 17, 2021
Pakistan former speedster Shoaib Akhtar also took to his Twitter handle and called New Zealand abandoning the series 'sad'.
Sad scenes & news from Rawalpindi.— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) September 17, 2021
The trouble began when the first ODI of the white ball series could not begin on time at the Rawalpindi Stadium on Friday with both teams remaining in their hotel rooms. New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White then issued a statement to say that it was simply not possible to continue with the tour given the advice he was receiving.
"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," he stated in a press release.
New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills echoed White's sentiments and said, "The players are in good hands; they're safe and everyone's acting in their best interests." NZC said it will not comment on the details of the security threat nor the updated arrangements for the departing squad.
The Pakistan Cricket Board, on its part, said that New Zealand had unilaterally decided to postpone the series. "Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured 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 PCB said in a statement. The PCB also stated that the security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the hosts throughout their stay here.
"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. is in danger of being cancelled after the first match of the ODI series could not begin on time on Friday at the Pindi stadium," the statement further mentioned. The series was to comprise three ODIs and five T20 Internationals.