Monday September 25, 2023

New Zealand team land in UAE after scrapping Pakistan cricket series over security threat

After abandoning the Pakistan cricket series, the Black Caps have arrived in Dubai where they started a daylong quarantine period

September 19, 2021
Players of the New Zealand team arrived in Dubai. Photo credit: NZ Cricket
Players of the New Zealand team arrived in Dubai. Photo credit: NZ Cricket

DUBAI: The New Zealand cricket team arrived in Dubai early Sunday after fleeing Pakistan but officials refused to give details of the security threat that forced them to abruptly cancel their tour.

While some information had been shared with the Pakistan Cricket Board, "specific details could not, and will not, be disclosed - privately or publicly", New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said.

Upcoming scheduled tours by England, Australia and the West Indies are now in jeopardy.

"The BLACKCAPS have arrived in Dubai after leaving Islamabad on a charter flight last night," New Zealand Cricket said in a statement.

"The contingent of 34 players and support staff are now settling into their Dubai hotel and undergoing their 24-hour period of self-isolation."

White said he appreciated what a "terribly difficult time" it was for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), but added New Zealand had no choice but to abandon their visit.

"What I can say is that we were advised this was a specific and credible threat against the team," White said.

"We had several conversations with New Zealand government officials before making the decision and it was after informing the PCB of our position that we understand a telephone discussion was conducted between the respective Prime Ministers.

"Unfortunately, given the advice we'd received, there was no way we could stay in the country."

White said New Zealand remained comfortable with its initial decision to tour Pakistan, based on comprehensive assessments of the security situation, and the risk-mitigation measures promised.

"Everything changed on Friday," he said.

"The advice changed, the threat level changed and, as a consequence, we took the only responsible course of action possible."

The New Zealand players and staff were taken in bullet-proof buses from their Islamabad hotel to the airport where they boarded the charter flight to Dubai.

Players not involved in next month's Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates will return to New Zealand as soon as flights and quarantine facilities can be arranged.