Pakistan has accused an unnamed individual in India of sending threatening emails that caused New Zealand to abandon its cricket tour of the country just hours before the start of the opening match.
New Zealand scrapped its plans last Friday, citing a specific security threat to its cricket team without sharing the details of the threat.
New Zealand’s withdrawal dealt a massive blow to Pakistan’s hopes of staging regular international cricket, with England subsequently calling off its tours as well.
“The email was sent from an associated device in India using VPN [a virtual private network], showing IP address location of Singapore,” Pakistan information minister Fawad Chaudhry told reporters on Wednesday.
Chaudhry claimed that New Zealand received threatening emails before it arrived in Pakistan on September 11, including an email sent to the wife of Martin Guptill in which the cricketer received a death threat.
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja spoke with the foreign media a day after the England and Wales Cricket Board announced withdrawing their sides from next month’s tour of Pakistan.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 21, 2021
The information minister said Pakistan’s initial investigations revealed that the device from which an email to Guptill’s wife was sent was also registered in India.
Chaudhry said Pakistan will seek help from the INTERPOL to probe the matter.
“We believe this is a campaign against international cricket,” Chaudhry said.
England, meanwhile, called off its men’s and women’s teams tours of Pakistan scheduled for October citing “mental and physical well-being” of the players.
However, the British high commissioner in Pakistan wrote on Twitter that he had not advised against the tour on security grounds and that the cricket board took the decision on its own.
— Christian Turner (@CTurnerFCDO) September 21, 2021
“The British High Commission supported the tour; did not advise against it on security grounds; and our travel advice for Pakistan has not changed,” Christian Turner said. “This was a decision made by the ECB, which is independent of the British government based on concerns for players welfare.”
England is scheduled to tour Pakistan for test and limited-overs matches late in 2022 and Turner said he “will redouble my efforts in advance of England’s Autumn 2022 tour”.
On Tuesday, Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ramiz Raja lashed out at what he called the “Western bloc” who he said “used and binned” his country.
Pakistan was a no-go zone for international cricket teams for a decade after armed fighters attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009.
The ambush killed seven people and injured several Sri Lankan cricketers.
International teams resumed touring Pakistan in 2019.