‘New Zealand refuses to tour Pakistan for T20 series’

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Karachi: New Zealand Cricket has refused to tour Pakistan for a T20 international series later this year, local media reported on Tuesday.

What would have been the Black Caps’ first tour to Pakistan in 15 years, won’t be happening, said an official from New Zealand Cricket.

“At the end of the day it came down to following the advisory and the security reports we’d obtained.” NZ Cricket chairman Greg Barclay told NEWSHUB.

New Zealand are scheduled to play Pakistan in the Green Shirts’ ‘adopted home ground’ of United Arab Emirates in October in three Tests, three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had hoped to convince New Zealand Cricket officials to move the T20 leg of the series to Pakistan, where international cricket has been slowly returning after a hiatus of nine years.

“There’s no doubt they (Pakistan Cricket Board) are disappointed. I think they saw a tour by a country like New Zealand as being a great precedent for them to start to build an international programme back in Pakistan,” Barclay continued.

“So they’re disappointed but they’re good guys, we get on really well with Pakistan, and I think they’re fully accepting of the decision that we’ve reached.”

New Zealand last visited Pakistan in 2003, a year after a bomb blast outside the team’s hotel in Karachi ended their tour prematurely.

Asked if New Zealand players were prepared to go to Pakistan and whether New Zealand Cricket would have been able to send a team, Barclay said, “I think that probably would have been difficult for a variety of reasons. We fortunately didn’t get to the point where we had to have those discussions.”

“We’re very sympathetic to the plight they find themselves in, we’re a member of the ICC, we’re very aware that the ICC are trying to facilitate more international cricket in Pakistan and we’re very supportive of that.

“But all circumstances considered, we just decided circumstances weren’t right for us to tour at the moment.”

In April, West Indies became the first major side to tour Pakistan for a series since 2009, when a terrorist attack on the visiting Sri Lanka team triggered a drought of international cricket in the country. Sri Lanka returned in 2017 to play a T20I match in Lahore – the third and final match of the T20 series which was played in UAE.

The cricket-loving country also safely hosted the final of Pakistan Super League 2017 in Lahore, and the final three matches of the 2018 edition of the tournament. The security arrangements were widely praised by the visiting teams and security experts who reviewed the preparations.

Barclay said the success of the West Indies tour was taken into consideration when New Zealand Cricket made its decision.

“I can’t comment on the decision process that the West Indies went through, perhaps some of the timings may have been different as well, I just know that we went through a very thorough process and I’m comfortable with the decision that we got to,” the official added.

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