Tuesday, January 25

England toured Pakistan on a razor’s edge after New Zealand pulled out of the country | Cricket


The England and Wales Cricket Board will spend the weekend deciding whether to cancel next month’s tours of Pakistan after New Zealand abandoned its current visit to the country citing safety advice.

The Black Caps were due to start the first of eight international white ball games in Rawalpindi on Friday afternoon, but instead canceled the tour at 11 o’clock, and players were told to stay in their hotel rooms and prepare for a flight home.

A statement from New Zealand Cricket read: “[Following] an escalation in threat levels from the New Zealand government to Pakistan, and the advice of NZC security advisers on the ground, it has been decided that the Black Caps will not continue the tour. “

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The Pakistan Cricket Board stressed that this was a “one-sided” decision made by its guests and came despite the fact that Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, contacted his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern directly. assure you that local intelligence has not detected such a threat.

A statement from the PCB read: “The PCB and the Pakistani government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. The New Zealand team security officers have been satisfied with the security arrangements made by the Pakistani government during their stay here. “

The tour was New Zealand’s first to Pakistan since 2003 and, coupled with the extension of this 18-year absence, the decision will have sent shock waves to the two England teams due to fly to Rawalpindi next month.

Eoin Morgan’s men will consecutively play Twenty20 international matches on October 14 and 15 as part of their preparations for the World Cup campaign that begins in the United Arab Emirates the following week, while Heather Knight’s women’s team will play two T20 and three ODI.

It is England’s first visit to Pakistan since 2005 and was organized as a token of gratitude to the PCB; Along with the West Indies, Ireland and Australia, their men’s test team agreed to play in the UK last summer, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, helping English cricket avoid a £ 300 million loss.

But now that goodwill will be put to the test by New Zealand’s decision, with an ECB spokesperson saying: “We are in contact with our security team on the ground in Pakistan to fully understand the situation. The ECB Board will decide in the next 24-48 hours whether our planned tour should continue. “

While the ECB may take a different stance than its New Zealand counterparts and decide that the tour is still viable, its fate may still depend on the players; The opinion of Morgan, the all-powerful male captain who previously chose to miss out on the 2016 Bangladesh tour due to safety concerns, will likely be key.

Either way, New Zealand’s decision represents the latest disruption to the international calendar, and the ECB is still counting the cost of last week’s abandoned fifth test at Old Trafford after a Covid-19 outbreak among staff at India’s backroom saw its players retreat. the match.


www.theguardian.com

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