New Zealand cricket team ‘threatened’ flees Pakistan

The New Zealand cricket team decided to flee Pakistan, where they were preparing to play a series of matches, due to “a specific and credible threat”.

Police officers outside Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on September 17, 2021.

Police officers outside Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on September 17, 2021.

The New Zealand cricket team arrived in Dubai on Sunday after leaving Pakistan in a hurry where they decided to cancel their participation in several matches, citing security reasons, announced their federation.

“The Blackcaps arrived in Dubai after leaving Islamabad on a charter flight last night (Saturday),” the New Zealand Cricket Federation said in a statement. The 34 players and accompanying persons are all confined in a hotel for a period of isolation of 24 hours, adds this text. They were transported from their hotel to Islamabad airport on a bus with armored windows.

The chief of this federation David White admitted that it was a “terribly difficult time” for the Pakistan cricket federation, but that New Zealand had no choice but to leave the country. The officials of the New Zealand federation, however, refused to specify the nature of the security threats weighing on their team.

“Specific and credible threat”

“Specific details cannot and will not be revealed, publicly or privately,” said David White. “What I can tell you that we have been informed of a specific and credible threat against our team,” he assured, adding that this made it impossible to stay in the country.

The New Zealand federation ensures that it correctly assessed the situation on the spot and the risks involved before deciding to reach Pakistan, but that everything changed once there. “Everything changed on Friday,” he said, including the “threat level” weighing on the team.

The New Zealand cricket federation “informed us that it had been informed of a security risk and that it had decided to unilaterally postpone the series of matches,” the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Friday in a report. press release, published a few minutes after the time initially scheduled for the first match.

Heavy blow for Pakistan

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke on the phone on Friday with his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern to assure him that “the New Zealand team enjoyed rock-solid security,” the Pakistani minister said. of Information, Fawad Chaudhry, on Twitter.

“According to the PCB, the New Zealand authorities were satisfied with the security arrangements in Pakistan” and considered that there was “no threat to the New Zealand team,” he added. “However, the New Zealand Prime Minister asked to postpone the meeting” out of caution. This decision is a blow to Pakistan, deprived for years of international competition on its soil following the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team.

It could in particular call into question a tour of the England team scheduled for October which would have been the first in 16 years. Scheduled trips for the Australian team in February and the West Indies (West Indies, a name bringing together several Caribbean countries under the same sporting banner) in December also seem compromised. “England will probably not come, Australia either, and it will be a shock,” said cricket columnist Osman Samiuddin, interviewed by AFP.

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