England’s tours of Pakistan on a knife edge after New Zealand’s withdrawal from the country | cricket

England and Wales cricket The council will spend the weekend deciding whether to cancel next month’s tours of Pakistan after New Zealand abandoned its current visit to the country citing security advice.

The Black Caps were due to start their first of eight white ball internationals in Rawalpindi on Friday afternoon, but instead canceled the tour at 11, with the players being asked to stay in their hotel rooms and prepare to fly home.

A statement from New Zealand Cricket read:[Following] With an escalation in the New Zealand Government’s threat levels to Pakistan, and advice from New Zealand security advisers on the ground, it has been decided that the Black Caps should not continue the tour.”

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The Pakistan Cricket Board stressed that this was a ‘one-sided’ decision taken by their guests despite the fact that the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, directly contacted his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern, to assure her that local intelligence had not detected such a threat.

A statement issued by PCB reads: “PCB and Govt of Pakistan have made guaranteed security arrangements for all visiting teams. Team New Zealand security officials were satisfied with the security arrangements made by the Pakistani government throughout their stay here.”

It was New Zealand’s first tour to Pakistan since 2003, and along with extending that absence by 18 years, the decision will alarm the two English teams who are set to travel to Rawalpindi next month.

Eoin Morgan’s men are scheduled to play back-to-back international T20 matches on October 13 and 14 as part of their preparations for the World Cup campaign that begins in the UAE the following week, while the women’s Heather Knight is scheduled to play twice. T20s and three ODIs.

It is England’s first visit to Pakistan since 2005 and has been arranged as a show of gratitude towards the PCB. Along with the West Indies, Ireland and Australia, the men’s test team agreed to play in the UK last summer, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, helping English cricket avoid losing £300m.

But now that goodwill will be put to the test by New Zealand’s decision, by extension European Central Bank The spokesperson said, “We are in contact with our security team on the ground in Pakistan to fully understand the situation. The Governing Council of the European Central Bank will then decide within the next 24-48 hours whether to proceed with our planned tour.”

While the European Central Bank may take a different stance from its New Zealand counterparts and decide that the round is still viable, its fate may depend on the players; The sight of Morgan, the strongmen’s captain who previously chose to miss the 2016 tour of Bangladesh due to security concerns, is likely to be key.

Either way, New Zealand’s decision marks the latest turmoil in the international calendar, with the European Central Bank still counting the cost of the abandoned fifth test last week at Old Trafford after the Covid-19 outbreak among India’s backroom staff led to their players withdrawing from the match. .

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