The New Zealand cricket team Saturday flew out of Pakistan on a chartered aircraft after calling off their Pakistan tour unilaterally owing to “security” concerns.
A special plane reached Islamabad airport earlier in the day from where a total of 33 players squad moved to Dubai in UAE.
The New Zealand players took Covid tests before their departure to the UAE. All the squad has tested negative for the infection.
New Zealand Cricket dropped out of the much-anticipated trip on Friday, citing a government security alert. The NZC had already been assured of complete security by the Pakistani authorities, but they insisted on canceling the series.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) stated in a statement that the New Zealand Cricket Board (NZC) informed them that the series had been delayed owing to security concerns, adding that it was their unilateral decision.
“We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same. The Pakistan Prime Minister spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team,” the PCB had said.
Throughout their time in Pakistan, the security officials with the New Zealand team were pleased with the security arrangements provided by the Pakistan government, according to the PCB.
NZC Chief Executive David White stated in a statement announcing the decision that given the advice he was getting, it was just not possible to continue with the trip.
“I understand this will be a blow for the PCB, who have been wonderful hosts, but player safety is paramount and we believe this is the only responsible option.”
Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Friday that New Zealand’s tour to Pakistan had been cancelled abruptly through a conspiracy.
He was addressing a press conference after the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) abandoned the trip citing unexplained security alert minutes before the first match between Pakistan and visiting teams in Rawalpindi.
He said that New Zealand’s decision is part of a conspiracy that intends at maligning Pakistan’s image internationally.
The interior minister said that New Zealand’s security team was in Pakistan for four months to review the arrangements.
He said, “We have received no threats”.