PCB chief: Pakistan to overcome crisis after New Zealand tour withdraws
New Zealand scrapped tour on opening match day Friday citing a government security alert
New Zealand’s brutal decision to withdraw from its Pakistan cricket tour has created “an unfortunate scenario”, but the hosts know how to overcome such crises, the country’s cricket board chairman Ramiz Raja said on Saturday .
New Zealand scrapped the tour on opening match day on Friday citing a government security alert, while England are also reconsidering their men’s and women’s team visits to Pakistan next month.
The tour was supposed to start with the first of three days in Rawalpindi, but New Zealand did not make it to the stadium.
“It’s an unfortunate scenario,” said Raja, who took over the chairmanship of the Pakistan Cricket Board on Monday, in a video posted on the council’s Twitter account.
“But we have faced similar situations in the past and have always overcome them. We have tremendous resilience… this is a setback for the staging of international cricket in Pakistan, but we will also overcome this crisis.”
Several Pakistani players have taken to Twitter to express their anger and frustration over New Zealand’s decision.
Raja advised them to channel it to improve their performance.
“My message to the team is: vent your anger and frustration through your performance on the pitch.
“If you become the best team in the world, others will line up here to face you in Pakistan.”
Local media have said New Zealand will return home on a chartered flight via the United Arab Emirates after the shocking end of their first tour of Pakistan in 18 years.
PCB chief executive Wasim Khan was not immediately available for details when Reuters contacted him, while a spokesperson for the New Zealand team declined to share his travel plans.
Top teams largely avoided Pakistan following an attack by Islamist militants on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 that killed six police officers and two civilians, and it is feared that the decision of the New Zealand leaving doesn’t keep them away.
England is already reconsidering its limited trip to Pakistan next month while Australia, which is due to visit in February-March next year, also appears suspicious.
A spokesperson for Cricket Australia said the organization was monitoring the situation and “will discuss with the relevant authorities once more information is known”.
The PCB was already forecasting “financial losses in the millions,” the Dawn newspaper said after New Zealand’s withdrawal.
“… This is a blow to the efforts of the PCB, government and security agencies to fully restore international cricket in Pakistan,” said an unidentified PCB official as quoted by Dawn.
Pakistan may have to play “home” matches in the United Arab Emirates again, with current and former players already dreading the prospect.
“New Zealand just killed Pakistani cricket,” tweeted former test player Shoaib Akhtar.
Rhythm thrower Mohammad Amir also criticized New Zealand in a tweet for dropping out of the tour: “Hello New Zealand, we Pakistanis will forgive you because we are a loving nation, but this act will bite you. for sure in the future. “