Crescent Kashmir

NZ captain Latham thanks ‘brilliant’ Pakistan authorities for keeping players safe

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New Zealand’s cricket squad arrived home on Wednesday after abandoning their tour of Pakistan, with their stand-in captain Tom Latham praising the “brilliant” authorities for keeping Kiwi players safe during their stay.

New Zealand’s withdrawal last week dealt a massive blow to Pakistan’s hopes of staging regular international cricket, with England subsequently calling off their men’s and women’s tours.

Latham, New Zealand’s stand-in captain for the cancelled tour, said the squad had a “hectic” 24 hours once they found out they were heading home.

“While we were there after the decision, the Pakistan authorities were brilliant,” he said. “We certainly need to thank them.”

Latham said it was “naturally very disappointing” for Pakistan and their fans. “It was something they were very proud of,” he added.

“It was a historic moment for New Zealand Cricket to be back there 18 years since they were last there.

“To be part of that was going to be something special, but obviously things changed.”

The 24-strong Black Caps squad landed in Auckland after flying from Dubai and will spend the next 14 days in mandatory Covid-19 hotel quarantine.

“We managed to get to Dubai 24 hours after the decision was made,” he told the team’s in-house media channel.

“The guys dealt with it all slightly differently but we stayed tight as a group over there in those 24 hours we had in Islamabad.”

The tour was called off on the day the first one-day international was due to be played after a “specific and credible” threat directed at the New Zealand squad, New Zealand Cricket boss David White said.

The withdrawal and England’s subsequent cancellation drew a furious reaction from Pakistan’s cricket board, with chairman Ramiz Raja saying the nation had been “used and binned” by the game’s Western bloc.


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