The New Zealand team left the Serena Hotel at 12:55 pm and arrived at the Islamabad airport at 1:20 pm on September 18, 2021. They were examined for COVID-19 infection at the airport and left for Dubai at 6 p.m. on a chartered plane RJD-232. They will go to the UAE and then to New Zealand.
After 2003, the New Zealanders visited Pakistan to play a One-Day International (ODI) series. The inaugural game was scheduled to take place on September 17, 2021. The New Zealand cricket team withdrew from its tour of Pakistan on the day of the first match due to security concerns, just minutes before the match was set to begin at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) reported that New Zealand Cricket (NZC) notified them of “some security alert” and that the series had been unilaterally postponed. The New Zealand contingent stationed in Pakistan is preparing to leave the country. The New Zealand Cricket Association complimented Pakistan as “excellent hosts,” but highlighted the need for player safety. No specifics about the security threat or the revised plans for the departing squad have been made public at this time.
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja said the decision had been “crazy” and that he felt sorry for the fans and Pakistani players who had been disappointed. In response to the cancellation, he stated earlier in the day that the country will hear Pakistan at the International Cricket Council. He also criticized NZ Cricket that “Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it’s not shared!!”
The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, backed New Zealand Cricket’s decision to withdraw from the tour. “I emphasized our thanks for the care offered to the New Zealand Cricket team,” Ardern told Pakistan’s Prime Minister. “I understand how sad everyone will be that the game will not be played, but the safety of the players must come first.” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) stated that the country has foolproof security systems for all visiting teams” and had assured the New Zealand Cricket Council” of this. The statement says Prime Minister Imran Khan told Ardern that Pakistan has “one of the best intelligence systems in the world” and that the visiting delegation faced no security threats.
‘The New Zealand team’s security staff have indicated satisfaction with the security arrangements imposed by the government throughout their visit,’ the statement said. After New Zealand made its announcement, it went viral on the internet, irritating and frustrating Pakistanis. On Twitter #PAKvNZ became the most popular hashtag. Many top cricketers, authorities, and actors voiced their displeasure and rage.
Former Pakistan fast bowler Sikander Bakht blasted the New Zealand authorities for canceling the team’s vacation because of a “security danger.” “They came here for five days of practice. Nobody threw a stone at them. It’s demoralizing to withdraw at the last minute “he clarified. By playing Test matches in difficult conditions in England and other nations, Pakistan has assisted countries all over the world, Bakht added.
Mr. Shoaib Akhtar, an ex-Pakistan fast bowler, blasted New Zealand cricket management for suspending the series due to national security concerns. Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has also criticized New Zealand Cricket for canceling a cricket tour despite assurances from Pakistan concerning security.
After the highly anticipated New Zealand-Pakistan match finished in shambles, Pakistani celebrities and influencers took to social media to vent. Celebrities like Humayun Saeed, Asim Azhar, Farhan Saeed, and Faysal Quraishi expressed sadness over New Zealand’s unexpected withdrawal from the World Cup. Many foreigners have shown their support for Pakistan, like Shienera Akram, who remarked that she feels safest in Pakistan.
The cancellation of the New Zealand series could result in considerable financial losses for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), according to a report in the Daily Jang on Saturday. The PCB may not be able to pursue an insurance claim for the damages sustained due to the circumstances surrounding the tour cancellation.
Author is a Lahore College for Women University graduate. She writes with zeal and believes that there is nothing greater than words to express herself.