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The Black Caps’ cricket tour of Pakistan has been cancelled because of a security threat.
The series was set to be New Zealand’s first in Pakistan since 2003, with five Twenty20s planned to follow the three one-day matches.
The team had not toured Pakistan since 2003 due to security concerns in the country.
‘‘Following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisers on the ground, it has been decided the Black Caps will not continue with the tour,’’ New Zealand Cricket said in a statement.
NZC chief executive David White said 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.’’
New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills echoed Mr White’s sentiments.
‘‘We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision,’’ he said.
‘‘The players are in good hands; they’re safe — and everyone’s acting in their best interests.’’
The Pakistan Cricket Board released a statement saying that ‘‘no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team’’, with Pakistan Prime Minister and former cricket great Imran Khan having spoken to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to reassure her.
‘‘Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series,’’ the PCB said.
‘‘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 security officials with the New Zealand team had been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan Government throughout their stay.
‘‘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.’’ — The New Zealand Herald