Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Wasim Khan on Sunday in a virtual call with reporters, said that the New Zealand tour of Pakistan was abandoned after the New Zealand government received an alert from the “Five Eyes” intelligence group about a “direct and imminent” threat to its team.
The PCB said that the New Zealand team had been satisfied with the security arrangements throughout their stay, adding that cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world were disappointed” by the last-minute withdrawal.
“It is sad that our reputation has been harmed through this unilateral decision,” he said and the matter is to be raised at ICC.
Khan said that New Zealand had set a “very wrong example” by unilaterally ending the tour.
He maintained that the last 48 hours had been very difficult for Pakistan cricket and he wanted to bring some facts to light.
PCB CEO shared the details of the events of the last two days’ fiasco.
“On Friday morning at 3 am, I received a call from ESI head of security Reg Dickinson, who is the security consultant for New Zealand, who said that a report had landed on the New Zealand government’s desk through their government security agencies stating that there was a threat on the New Zealand team, and that threat was direct and imminent on that particular day,” Wasim Khan said.
“He stated that information had emanated from that circle (Five Eyes) and reached the deputy prime minister’s office of New Zealand and that it was serious and it was something that we needed to try and address immediately,” the PCB chief executive added.
Khan revealed that he then arrived in Lahore and met Dickinson to seek more clarification, however, New Zealand refused to provide any details or inform the Pakistani security agencies about the threat, despite being asked for the same.
“When we contacted our security agencies, they clarified that there was no security threat to the visiting team,” he said.
The PCB CEO said, “you have to trust the security agencies of the country that you are touring.”
“Harming the relations between the two boards, the decision will have far-reaching consequences,” he said, noting that New Zealand’s players and security officials had expressed confidence in Pakistan’s security arrangements.
“Our players spent the most difficult 14 days in quarantine in New Zealand and travelled there despite the Christchurch mosque attack. But it is clear to everyone that decisions are not being taken on the basis of equality.”
The PCB CEO also shared that England officials would decide about its upcoming tour to Pakistan today.
He also revealed that PCB had contacted the Bangladesh and Sri Lankan cricket boards in the last 24 hours, offering them to play a bilateral series utilizing the arrangements made for the New Zealand series.
However, it was not possible to accomplish due to shortage of time and logistical issues, though both the boards were willing to undertake the visit.