Turner raises serious concerns over Pakistan tour

Glenn Turner
Glenn Turner
New Zealand great Glenn Turner has questioned whether New Zealand Cricket has its players’ best interests at heart by agreeing to tour Pakistan next month.

Turner, a former player, coach and selector for the national team, wrote a letter to the Otago Daily Times expressing his concern.

The Black Caps leave for a tour of Bangladesh early next week and will continue on to Pakistan, where they will play three one-day internationals and five twenty20s.

New Zealand last toured Pakistan in 2003 for a five-match ODI series.

The previous year it abandoned its test series following a bombing outside its Karachi hotel. International tours to Pakistan have been rare since a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers was attacked by 12 gunmen in March 2009.

‘‘Just when duty of care for athletes has become a hot topic, New Zealand Cricket announces a tour to Pakistan,’’ Turner wrote.

‘‘Pakistan is not only Covid-19 ravaged, currently averaging around 4500 reported cases daily, but even more concerning are the developments of Taliban successes in neighbouring Afghanistan.

‘‘According to a BBC report earlier this month, it is likely there will be a resurgence of Taliban cells in Pakistan.

‘‘Taliban cells are already known to be present in Pakistani cities and these have a history of carrying out attacks within Pakistan.’’

Turner reiterated his comments when contacted yesterday.

‘‘Can they be that confident that things have changed?’’ he said.

NZC chief executive David White was unavailable for comment yesterday.

However, a spokesman said the players ‘‘will be vaccinated and adhering to best-practice health protocols, including mask-wearing, social distancing and operating within biosecure bubbles’’.

They will also travelling on charter flights.

‘‘In terms of safety and security, New Zealand Cricket is in the process of conducting its normal pre-tour reconnaissance for Pakistan.’’

The process will be led by independent security consultant Reg Dickason.

‘‘As always, we’ll be guided by the advice we receive.’’

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