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New Zealand announced on Friday the cancellation of a series of cricket matches scheduled in Islamabad. If the island country invokes security reasons, Pakistan assures that all conditions were met to guarantee the smooth running of the tour.
Diplomatic battle in sight around cricket ? New Zealand decided on Friday 17 September to cancel a series of matches scheduled in Islamabad, citing security reasons. For his part, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the former professional player Imran Khan, ensures that everything had been done to ensure the safety of the players.
The New Zealand cricket federation “has informed us that it has been informed of a security risk and that it has decided to unilaterally postpone the series of matches,” the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement, issued minutes after the originally scheduled time for the first game.
We have assured the NZ cricket board of the same. The 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.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 17, 2021
The New Zealand cricket federation, for its part, confirmed the cancellation of its participation in the matches in an official statement published on its website.
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, spoke on the phone with his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern “a few hours ago and assured him that the New Zealand team enjoyed rock-solid security,” Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Twitter.
“According to the PCB, the New Zealand authorities were satisfied with the security arrangements in Pakistan “and felt there was” no threat to the New Zealand team”, he added. However, the New Zealand Prime Minister asked to postpone the meeting” out of caution.
The decision is a blow to Pakistan, which has been denied international competition on home soil for years following the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team.
It could in particular call into question a tour of the England team scheduled for October which would have been the first for 16 years.