Islamabad, September 17 (KMS): New Zealand cricket team called off their tour of Pakistan, today, minutes before the start of the 1st One Day International (ODI) at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, citing so-called security concerns.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed talking to media in Islamabad on Friday evening said Pakistan is fully safe for international cricket and postponement of New Zealand Cricket Team’s visit is a unilateral decision on part of the Kiwi authorities. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan contacted his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern and assured her that there is no threat to the Kiwi cricket team.
The Interior Minister said Pakistani intelligence and security agencies are the best in the world and they have not received any kind of threat from any quarter.
Without naming, he said the visit was got postponed by hidden hands under some conspiracy to harm Pakistan’s efforts for peace in Afghanistan and the region.
The Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board, Ramiz Raja, in a tweet criticized the New Zealand Cricket’s decision. He said, “Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it is not shared! Which world is NZ living in? NZ will hear us at ICC.”
Pakistan cricket team captain, Babar Azam, in a tweet said, “I’ve full trust in the capabilities and credibility of our security agencies. They are our pride and always will be! Pakistan Zindabad!”
The former captain of West Indies and Peshawar Zalmi, Darren Sammy, in a tweet said Pakistan is one of the safest places he has played cricket. “Over the last 6 years playing and visiting Pakistan has been one of the most enjoyable experiences. I’ve always felt safe,” he said.
In another tweet, he said that the PCB and the government had worked so hard to get cricket back to Pakistan. “Again I will say Pakistan is one of the safest places I’ve played cricket. The fans are amazing. I feel at home when I’m there,” he added.
The tour, comprising three ODIs and five T20Is, was supposed to start today, with the first ODI in Rawalpindi, but the NZ team didn’t leave the hotel to play the game.
It is a fact that enemies of Pakistan and cricket don’t want to see the holding of international matches in the country. They are even spoiling the ‘Gentlemen’s Game’ and using every wicked tactic to fulfill their nefarious designs. Although they might have succeeded in compelling the New Zealand Cricket to call off its Pakistan tour but they cannot demoralize the Pakistani nation, which is ever ready to host any international cricket team. The cricket teams of Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and South Africa after their visits to Pakistan in the last couple of years praised the hospitality and security they had received in the country.