Pakistan rules out New Zealand boycott in T20 Cricket World Cup

The decision infuriated the PCB and sparked calls for a boycott of the New Zealand team.

Police officers stand guard outside Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium after the New Zealand cricket team pulled out of a Pakistan cricket tour over security concerns [Waseem Khan/Reuters]

Pakistan will not boycott next month’s Twenty20 World Cup match against New Zealand after the Black Caps’ “disrespectful” and abrupt abandonment of their tour over security fears, the country’s cricket board said.

The cancellation is a massive setback for Pakistan, who have been trying to revive tours by foreign sides after home internationals were suspended following a 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

New Zealand have refused to give details of the security threat that forced them to cancel their tour on Friday, just as the first One-Day International was due to begin in Rawalpindi.

The decision infuriated the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and sparked calls for a boycott of the New Zealand team.

A member of the ground staff removes wickets in the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium following the abrupt cancellation of the opening match and the tour [Anjum Naveed/AP Photo]

However, PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said no such action is on the cards.

“Right now there is no issue of us not playing New Zealand,” Khan said at a virtual press conference.

“We have a duty to the fans and we have to fulfil that. I think we just need to be very careful in terms of the perspective. We don’t want to take that route showing any sort of political gesturing and posturing, and any sort of visible protest.”

Pakistan and New Zealand are due to meet in the Twenty20 World Cup in Sharjah, UAE, on October 26.

‘Political tensions’

Khan said the abandonment had created “political tensions” in the PCB’s relationship with New Zealand Cricket “because the way it was done was disrespectful”.

The three-ODI and five-T20 series would have been the Black Caps’s first games in Pakistan in 18 years and Khan said the pull-out has exposed the inequalities in world cricket.

“We have done everything for other countries, our players have sacrificed 14 days of quarantine in New Zealand and went to New Zealand after an attack on the mosque,” said Khan in reference to the March 2019 attack in Christchurch.

“It’s easy to walk out of countries like Pakistan without any reason, without any dialogue and that has to stop.”

Attempts to convince Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to visit for a replacement series have also fallen through due to logistical hurdles, Khan said.

England and Australia are both currently scheduled to play in Pakistan later this year.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand Cricket “made the right decision” to pull out of the tour.

“You will understand why we are not in a position to give further information as to the nature of the intelligence, other than to say, it was a direct threat, and it was a credible threat,” she told reporters on Sunday.

Source: News Agencies