Sunday Sep 26, 2021
New Zealand Head Coach Gary Stead admitted Sunday that all eyes are on the New Zealand versus Pakistan match in the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup tournament, set to kick off next month.
"Our T20 World Cup campaign kicks off with the Pakistan match," he said in a statement. "Obviously, all eyes are on the Pakistan-New Zealand match.
Stead said that for the Kiwis, the clash against Pakistan is no different for them from other matches of the mega event. He spoke about New Zealand's last-minute decision to pull out of Pakistan, saying that what transpired was "worrying and disappointing".
"We are aware of the Pakistani cricket community and fans' sentiments," said Stead. "The decision was not in our hands."
Stead said he was not with the Black Caps in Pakistan hence he did not know much about the decisions taken at the last minute, adding that he wouldn't like to speak more on the matter.
"Sometimes, you aren't always kept in the loop on every decision hence I wouldn't like to talk more about it," he said.
The Kiwi head coach said five players of the New Zealand world cup squad were already training in the UAE for the mega event, adding that nine players of the squad were playing in the IPL, which is also taking place in the UAE.
The New Zealand cricket team had cancelled its tour of Pakistan on September 17 citing a "security alert", a statement issued by the PCB had said.
"Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series," the press release had said.
"Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. 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," it added.
The PCB had said that the security officials who travelled with the New Zealand team were satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan government throughout their stay here.
"PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last-minute withdrawal," the PCB had stated.
As expected, the news of New Zealand abandoning the Pakistan tour at the last minute did not go down with PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja.
Describing it a "crazy" day, Raja had said he felt sorry for Pakistani fans and players.
"Crazy day it has been! Feel so sorry for the fans and our players. Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it’s not shared!! Which world is NZ living in??NZ will hear us at ICC," he had tweeted.