PAKvNZ: New Zealand team cancels Pakistan tour minutes before first ODI

10:25 AM | 17 Sep, 2021
PAKvNZ: New Zealand team cancels Pakistan tour minutes before first ODI
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RAWALPINDI – In a surprise development, the New Zealand cricket team Friday cancelled its tour of Pakistan.

The development took place a few minutes after it was reported that the first ODI match between Pakistan and New Zealand was cancelled due to coronavirus.

An official version of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is released on twitter. The cricket ground remains empty, with no ground support staff or broadcast crew available present.

In a tweet, PCB wrote, “Earlier today, the New Zealand cricket board informed us that they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series. PCB and Govt of Pakistan made fool proof security arrangements for all visiting teams.

“We have assured the NZ cricket board of the same. The 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 security officials with the NZ team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Govt of Pakistan 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.”

Earlier, sports journalist Alia Rasheed, citing sources, said three Pakistani players have tested positive for coronavirus due to which the match has been cancelled.

However, she said until the PCB releases an official version, people should not jump to conclusions.

The tourists visited Pakistani after the gap of 18 years. The two sides last faced off in 2019 during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in Birmingham where Babar Azam guided his side to a six-wicket victory with a heroic century.

Pakistan, currently ranked sixth in the ICC ODI rankings, have a chance to climb one spot up, provided they beat the visitors 3-0 in the ODI series. The two teams will retain their pre-series rankings in case Pakistan fail to achieve the desired result.

New Zealand, the top-ranked ODI team in the ICC Rankings and the 2019 World Cup finalists, will take to the stadium today with the confidence of a 3-0 sweep against Bangladesh in March. The Kiwis will be looking to continue their winning streak.