Turner 'astonished' Black Caps were allowed to tour Pakistan

Pakistan security officials at a road block near the stadium in Rawalpindi. Photo: Getty Images
Pakistan security officials at a road block near the stadium in Rawalpindi. Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand cricket great Glenn Turner is "astonished" the Black Caps embarked on their Pakistan tour given concerns about player safety and Covid-19.

The Black Caps' tour of Pakistan - the team's first in 18 years - was abandoned last night moments before the first of three one-day internationals in Rawalpindi, because of security concerns.

New Zealand Cricket later announced the players would be returning home.

Former test captain Turner, a veteran of 41 tests and the same number of ODIs, says he has long had concerns about the safety of the cricketers in Pakistan, and on Saturday told the Herald his fears had been proven right.

In an open letter last month, Turner questioned NZC's decision to send a team to Pakistan, saying the country "is not only Covid-19 ravaged... but even more concerning are the developments of Taliban successes in neighbouring Afghanistan".

"At the end of that [letter] I said we can only hope this fear turns out to be benign, but it hasn't been," Turner, who was also a national selector, told the Herald.

"I was astonished actually that NZ Cricket would allow that to occur in the first instance."

Arriving on September 11, the Black Caps were also scheduled to play five Twenty20s in Lahore after the ODIs.

Pakistani security personnel in the Pindi Stadium after the cancellation of the Black Caps tour....
Pakistani security personnel in the Pindi Stadium after the cancellation of the Black Caps tour. Photo: Getty Images
They had not toured Pakistan since 2003 because of security concerns in the country, after their 2002 test series was abandoned when a bomb exploded outside the team hotel in Karachi.

Last month, NZC chief executive David White issued a statement saying they were "very much looking forward" to returning to Pakistan for the start of the home international season.

No international team had travelled to the country for over a decade after the 2009 terror attack in Lahore that killed seven people and injured several Sri Lankan cricketers.

Last night White issued a statement saying it was "simply not possible" to continue with the tour given the information he was receiving from on-the-ground security advisers.

Separate from the precarious situation in neighbouring Afghanistan, Turner said he did not believe the Black Caps should have toured during the pandemic.

"I think the sporting world generally needs to do what the rest of us are doing, sitting this Covid thing out for starters instead of rushing to go overseas and continuing," he said.

"Why can't sportspeople go on $600 a week like the rest of the workforces around the place during lockdowns?"

"New Zealand Cricket and other sports bodies it seems are so geared to cover their costs that they'll risk sending their teams around the world and all the complications that come with it."

With the situation in Afghanistan and media reports of possible attacks on the players, Turner said it had "seemed a no-brainer" to sit the tour out.

"I was hoping it wouldn't happen, and it could've been much worse," he said.

"You can try to put as much security around a group of people as you like but at the end of the day how successful can you guarantee to be?"

He hoped the team could get out of Pakistan easily and safely.

Comments

Is Turner going on the $600/week he apparently thinks is ok for others?

I agree 100 % with the comments of Glenn Turner.

 

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