New Zealand set to go home after security scare, leaving Pakistan in despair
England are already reconsidering their limited-overs trip to Pakistan next month
New Zealand will return home from Pakistan on a chartered flight on Saturday, media reported, a day after ending their first Pakistan tour in 18 years following a government security alert minutes before the opening fixture in Rawalapindi was to begin.
Top teams have largely shunned Pakistan in the wake of an attack by Islamist militants on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 that killed six policemen and two civilians, and there are fears that New Zealand’s decision to go home will keep them away.
England are already reconsidering their limited-overs trip to Pakistan next month while Australia, who are scheduled to visit in February-March next year, also appear wary.
A Cricket Australia spokesperson said the organisation was monitoring the situation and would “talk with the relevant authorities once more information becomes known”.
Local media quoted Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Wasim Khan as saying that New Zealand would return via United Arab Emirates (UAE) a day after calling off their limited-overs tour.
Khan was not immediately available to elaborate when Reuters contacted him, while a New Zealand team spokesman declined to share travel plans.
The PCB was already staring at “financial losses in millions”, the Dawn said, after New Zealand’s pullout.
“...this is a blow to the efforts the PCB, the government and the security agencies who had been making to fully restore international cricket in Pakistan,” the newspaper quoted an unidentified PCB official as saying.
Pakistan now risk playing their “home” matches again in the United Arab Emirates, and the players, both current and former, are already dreading that prospect.
“NZ just killed Pakistan cricket,” tweeted former test bowler Shoaib Akhtar.
PCB chairman Ramiz Raja has said they would take up the matter with the governing International Cricket Council.
Pace bowler Mohammad Amir also criticised the New Zealand for abandoning the tour in a tweet: “hi new Zealand might b we as a Pakistani will forgive u because we are a loving nation but this act will bite u in future for sure.”
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