Sunday Sep 19, 2021
Threats to New Zealand cricket players before the Pakistan tour were not serious or were hoaxes, said New Zealand Cricket Players Association Chief Executive Heath Mills Sunday.
Speaking to the media, Mills confirmed the news that a few players of the New Zealand cricket team received threats on social media and other channels prior to touring Pakistan.
He said that security officials reviewed the threats and after conducting an investigation, found them to be not serious or hoaxes.
Mills said these threats were not unusual for players touring another country, adding that
We have a comprehensive security-check process that we complete prior to going on any tour, adding that they were always taken extremely seriously and he was satisfied with the process undertaken on this occasion.
"We have a comprehensive security-check process that we complete prior to going on any tour," Mills told Stuff.
"We’ll always take that seriously and treat it as a serious issue until we can demonstrate otherwise. Our security people did that, spent some time working through it and came back and concluded that they didn’t think that they were serious and-or they were hoaxes," he added.
Earlier on Sunday, NZ Cricket CEO David White held a press conference where he had revealed that some players in the New Zealand camp had received threats "a few weeks ago".
He said that the New Zealand security provider had reviewed them and found that it was "a hoax and not credible".
However, Mills said the security alert received on Friday warranted that the New Zealand team had to abandon the tour.
"Once we went through that checking process and spoke to independent people, there was no doubt that it was a serious and credible attack on the tour.
"Once you hear that you understand there’s no option but for the team to come home," he said.
Mills said he was regularly in touch with the players and had tuned in for a video meeting with them when news of the security alert was first conveyed to the team.
He said the visiting party was initially shocked but added that they remained calm throughout the time. He added that it was a huge relief to all when the players arrived safely in Dubai.
"I think because they’ve been involved in the security-check processes, they had been on the ground and felt safe in Pakistan, saw the resources around them and have confidence in our security experts, they knew they were going to be okay while they remained in Pakistan at the hotel. So we just had to work on getting out," he said.
"There’s been anxiousness, they were keen to leave but they were very calm throughout the whole process."