New Zealand's decision to abandon the limited-overs series over security concerns sparks outrage in Pakistan.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja has expressed his dismay at New Zealand's decision to abandon a limited-overs series over security concerns just as the first one-day international was due to start in Rawalpindi.
"Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it's not shared!!" tweeted Raja, who was appointed on Monday as the new PCB chairman.
Raja, a former Pakistan captain, indicated the matter would be taken to the International Cricket Council.
"Which world is NZ living in?? NZ will hear us at ICC."
Crazy day it has been! Feel so sorry for the fans and our players. Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it’s not shared!! Which world is NZ living in??NZ will hear us at ICC.— Ramiz Raja (@iramizraja) September 17, 2021
Pakistan says made foolproof security arrangements
Pakistan and New Zealand, the world's top-ranked ODI team, were due to play three one-day internationals in Rawalpindi, followed by five Twenty20 matches in Lahore.
The tourists' decision to abandon the series came after "an escalation in the New Zealand government threat levels for Pakistan".
Arrangements were being made for the team to leave the country, New Zealand Cricket said.
The security concern has the Pakistan hosts mystified.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said together with the Pakistan government they "made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same."
Is New Zealand a safe country where a gun man freely walked in to a mosque and killed dozens of Muslims? The players of Bangladesh cricket team were inches away from that mosque? Where were your security protocols then for them or this just applies to your team?— Ihtisham Ul Haq (@iihtishamm) September 17, 2021
The Kiwis previously cut short a tour to Pakistan in 2002 after a bomb blast outside their team hotel in Karachi killed several French naval staff and Pakistanis.
New Zealand returned to Pakistan the following year but had not been back to play there since.
Friday's move was a massive setback to Pakistan, which has been trying to revive tours by foreign sides after home internationals were suspended in the aftermath of a 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan side.
This is heartbreaking. Pakistanis love cricket so much, we have worked really hard to bring cricket back here. PSL & other teams visiting Pakistan is evidence of our hospitality & security arrangements. We will continue our efforts. #PakistanZindabad— Shadab Khan (@76Shadabkhan) September 17, 2021
Pakistani captain 'extremely disappointed'
The England and Wales Cricket Board said it would decide in the next 48 hours whether to withdraw from a tour planned for next month.
"Extremely disappointed on the abrupt postponement of the series, which could have brought the smiles back for millions of Pakistan cricket fans," current Pakistan captain Babar Azam tweeted.
"I've full trust in the capabilities and credibility of our security agencies. They are our pride and always will be!"
Extremely disappointed on the abrupt postponement of the series, which could have brought the smiles back for millions of Pakistan Cricket Fans. I've full trust in the capabilities and credibility of our security agencies. They are our pride and always will be! Pakistan Zindabad!— Babar Azam (@babarazam258) September 17, 2021
'New Zealand just killed Pakistan cricket'
Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said "New Zealand just killed Pakistan cricket", pointing out that the country has safely hosted South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe in recent years.
"We will rise from this. And soon... Not the first time we've been pushed against the wall. Unnecessary and uncalled for decision by Blackcaps," he wrote on social media.
Shoaib also referenced Pakistan's tour of New Zealand at the end of last year "in the worst of Covid circumstances regardless of the crude treatment by NZ authorities on that tour."
° This was just an unverified threat, it could have been discussed.— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) September 17, 2021
° Prime Minister Imran Khan personally spoke to his NZ counterpart and assured but it was still refused.
° Pakistan has safely hosted South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe & PSL.
West Indies' Sammy 'always felt safe' in Pakistan
Mohammad Amir, who retired from international cricket in 2020 but has hinted at a possible return, suggested New Zealand's withdrawal was an "act (that) will bite you in future for sure".
West Indies' two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain Darren Sammy also voiced his disappointment over the abrupt cancellation of the series.
"Over the last 6 years playing and visiting Pakistan has been one of the most enjoyable experiences. I've always felt safe," said Sammy, who played in the Pakistan Super League with Peshawar Zalmi before taking over as head coach last year.
The @TheRealPCB and the government have worked so hard to get cricket back to Pakistan. Again I will say Pakistan is one of the safest places I’ve played cricket. The fans are amazing. I feel at home when I’m there. So disappointed right now. https://t.co/7vlGIRw73h pic.twitter.com/PUaZgG8qBS— Daren Sammy (@darensammy88) September 17, 2021