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The New Zealand Cricket team was always considered to be a group of nice guys but when they left Pakistan after suspending a much-anticipated tour of Pakistan, there was and is just hate and anger for blackcaps in the country.
It took Pakistan 6 years before they could arrange a tour of Zimbabwe in Pakistan back in 2015. It took another 2 years before the final of PSL 2017 could be held in Lahore alongside hosting the West Indies somewhere around. Finally, it was in 2021 that Pakistan hosted a big team like South Africa with anticipation coming to an end.
PCB, and the entire nation were very happy as it was going to host cricket giants like England and Australia in its home season in 2021-22. Things changed dramatically just minutes before the first ODI of the 3 match ODI series was supposed to start. People wondered what is the fault in their stars or realm?
Earlier, there were rumors that some players of the New Zealand cricket team are found covid-19 positive. This would have just canceled an ODI series but when the world knew that it was a security threat on the New Zealand Cricket end, the future tours of England and Australia also were in doubt.
The doubt has now been cleared with the official statement coming from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) end. The board, as expected, declared that it will not be sending men and women teams to voyage to Pakistan seeking security and safety conditions in Pakistan. It is to be remembered that non-existing threats from an unknown source were exaggerated to an extent that Pakistan’s image across the globe has badly been hit.
Imran Khan called his counterpart in New Zealand but their stance remained the same. PCB tried to convince them for 5 T20I matches in Lahore but the nice guys remained stubborn and left Pakistan for Dubai at 6 pm on September 18.
What New Zealand Cricket Says?
The Chief Executive of New Zealand Cricket said “There was no way” to play in Pakistan after their government had given clear instructions of leaving Pakistan immediately given a threat alert of an attack on the New Zealand Cricket team in Rawalpindi.
“What I can say is that we were advised this was a specific and credible threat against the team,” David White further explained in his statement.
“Everything changed on Friday. The advice changed, the threat level changed and, as a consequence, we took the only responsible course of action possible. Unfortunately, given the advice we’d received, there was no way we could stay in the country.”
As New Zealand Cricket had pulled out of Pakistan unilaterally and they did not share the details of the security threat, the relationships between both boards also look gloomy. PCB has thought to take the matter into the ICC but it is understood that they have not found any solid ground against New Zealand Cricket. There is a lot of anger and frustration in the PCB as well as the fans since Wasim Khan and the company have worked really hard to get cricket back in the country.
“For many years we’ve had a close relationship with Pakistan cricket,” White said, “We’ll work through this over the next few weeks and months. They’re a passionate cricketing nation and I understand that. But on the advice, we’ve received from the government that we had a specific credible threat to the safety of the team. Safety was paramount. We had no choice but to abandon the tour.”
What is the road ahead for PCB after NZ tour cancellation?
Pakistan had a very busy schedule, it was supposed to host England men and women teams in October. The unilateral decision to pull out of the series has damaged the schedule as well as had to face a lot of financial losses due to the decision New Zealand Cricket took on September 17. PCB is going to play the National T20 Cup with all of its stars and it hopes to host England next month.
PCB is confident of hosting Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Pakistan to prove that Pakistan is safe for cricket. Ramiz Raja requested the Pakistan cricket fans to stay positive and back Pakistan cricket and its team. In his view, even if Pakistan can not play on its home soil, it has the guts to beat big teams and make the world realize that Pakistan exists and is stronger than ever.
In a video message, Chairman PCB Ramiz Raja said, “I understand there is a lot of pressure on the Pakistan team. But that’s okay. We will face it. And we will bring you good news. Good performances. We are rallying the fans to get behind us. Now is the time to work hard and emerge as the world’s best team so that we can get out of this challenge easily. I am with you and hope you are also with me, and as a unit, we will take Pakistan cricket forward.”
Wasim Khan said that PCB is hopeful England will tour Pakistan as per schedule. In a statement, Chief Executive PCB Wasim Khan said, “PCB has a clear vision for now that Pakistan will play home series in Pakistan only and will not play anywhere else for which we’re in talks with different boards. We’ve worked day and night to bring back international cricket in the stadiums of Pakistan.”
What did others say on New Zealand Cricket’s unjust decision?
Cricketers and Commentators from all over the world are showing their support and empathy for Pakistan. The Pakistan Cricket Board is building a stronger narrative against the perception of Pakistan being an unsafe place to play cricket. It posted a video message of former West Indian captain Dareen Sammy on its social media accounts.
Two times Champion of T20 World Cup said, “Disappointed waking up to the news of the cancellation of Pakistan vs New Zealand series because of security issues. Over the last 6 years playing and visiting Pakistan has been one of the most enjoyable experiences. I’ve always felt safe. This is a massive blow to Pakistan.”
New Zealand Cricket has not been fair with Pakistan and this cancellation will send a wrong message about the country to the rest of the world. Pakistan has tried its best to revive international cricket in Pakistan.
Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram said, “I think the world underestimates how powerful our security forces are. Cricket is more than a sport to us and we will do everything in our power to prevent cricket from being taken from us again. The world needs to give us a chance to prove that…”
Other than blaming BCCI, it’s believed that some diplomatic tensions with the West powers due to the Afghanistan situation have also affected Pakistan’s ability to convince New Zealand. Banned TTP recently sent a warrant to Pakistani Journalists to not call their organization “A Terrorist Organization”, while Rawalpindi police had sent a threat alert which was just a routine thing in Pakistan. In this scenario, the concerns of New Zealand Cricket are understandable but since they decided unilaterally and did not share the details of the threat alert, Pakistanis think they are betrayed by the good guys.