New Zealand was warned of a “specific, credible threat” against its team, the country’s cricket board said on Sunday, elaborating on the rationale for abruptly abandoning the tour of Pakistan as the squad reached Dubai.
New Zealand had pulled out of the limited-overs tour on the day of the opening fixture in Rawalpindi on Friday, citing a New Zealand government security alert.
“What I can say is that we were advised this was a specific and credible threat against the team,” New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive David White said in a statement.
“Everything changed on Friday. The advice changed, the threat level changed and, as a consequence, we took the only responsible course of action possible. Unfortunately, given the advice we’d received, there was no way we could stay in the country.”
New Zealand had been visiting Pakistan for the first time in 18 years and also had been due to play five Twenty20 matches in Lahore.
The players left Islamabad by a chartered flight on Saturday and reached Dubai, where the 34-strong contingent are undergoing 24-hour period of self-isolation, the NZC said in a statement.
Twenty four of them will return home next week, while the rest will join New Zealand’s Twenty20 World Cup squad.
Stung by the shock withdrawal, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has threatened to take up the matter with the governing International Cricket Council.
Even Prime Minister Imran Khan’s telephone discussion with New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern could not save the tour.