Saturday Sep 18, 2021
The New Zealand cricket team was pulled out of Pakistan at the last minute after the Five Eyes — an intelligence alliance of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, United States, and United Kingdom — advised Wellington to do so, NZ Herald reported.
The publication said the security threat was deemed credible before the match. It led to phone calls between NZ Cricket and Pakistan Cricket Board, and Pakistan and New Zealand Prime Ministers Imran Khan and Jacinda Ardern.
"Within 12 hours of those conversations, the tour was cancelled," the report said.
Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed had on Friday claimed the New Zealand authorities "do not have substantive proof" of a threat in Pakistan.
Rasheed, addressing a press conference in Islamabad, had said New Zealand took a unilateral decision to cancel the Pakistan tour despite the country's tight security arrangements for the team.
"The prime minister was briefed on the matter. He then called New Zealand Prime Minister [Jacinda Ardern] and assured her that there was no security threat," the interior minister had said.
Responding to PM Imran Khan, New Zealand prime minister said there were reports that the team might be attacked once it steps out of the hotel, the interior minister had said.
The Black Caps called off their first Pakistan series in 18 years with Wellington's backing on Friday just before the first one-day international was due to start in Rawalpindi.
The newly elected chairman of the PCB Ramiz Raja admitted in a video message on Saturday that Pakistani cricket was facing "a lot of pressure", though not for the first time — and that the nation was resilient.
"Your pain and my pain is the same, it's a shared pain. Whatever happened was not good for Pakistan cricket," he said.
He advised the country's cricketers to put their "frustration" to good use and perform well.
"Vent out your frustration in your performance," the PCB chairman said, as he tried to boost the spirits of fans and cricketers alike after the debacle.
The PCB chairman said that this was the only solution to cope with the pull out, as when you become a world-class team, other countries will line-up to play in Pakistan.