Babar, Akhtar disappointed with abrupt postponement of Pak-NZ series

pakistan cricket
Police officers stand guard outside Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium after New Zealand cricket team pulled out of the tour over security concerns, in Rawalpindi. Photo: Reuters

Rawalpindi: Pakistan cricket captain Babar Azam said he was extremely disappointed, while former pacer Shoaib Akhtar accused New Zealand of killing the game in his country after the Black Caps abandoned their ongoing tour without a ball being bowled due to a "security threat".

This was New Zealand's first tour of Pakistan in 18 years and the series comprised three ODIs and five T20 Internationals with spectators being allowed at 25 per cent of the stadium capacity keeping in mind the COVID-19 threat.

"Extremely disappointed on the abrupt postponement of the series, which could have brought the smiles back for millions of Pakistan Cricket Fans. I've full trust in the capabilities and credibility of our security agencies. They are our pride and always will be! Pakistan Zindabad," Babar tweeted.

Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was more pointed in his attack on New Zealand cricket establishment where he provided five bullet points to counter the visitors' alleged threat perception claims.
"NZ just killed Pakistan cricket," he fumed.

Akhtar said New Zealand should have remembered that "nine Pakistanis were killed in the Christchurch attack."

"Pakistan stood strong with New Zealand. Pakistan toured New Zealand in the worst of Covid circumstances regardless of the crude treatment by NZ authorities on that tour."

Running a two-tweet thread, Akhar further wrote, "This was just an unverified threat, it could have been discussed. Prime Minister Imran Khan personally spoke to his NZ counterpart and assured but it was still refused.

"Pakistan has safely hosted South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe & PSL."

Another senior player Mohammed Hafeez termed it a "sad news for the whole nation."

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy, who has played in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), said that he never found the country to be unsafe.

"Disappointed waking up to the news of the cancellation of the Pakistan Vs New Zealand series because of security issues.

"Over the last six years playing and visiting Pakistan has been one of the most enjoyable experiences. I've always felt safe. this is a massive blow to Pakistan," Sammy tweeted.

Former overseas PSL players like Grant Elliott and current West Indies T20 free-lancer Sherfane Rutherford also expressed their sadness at the cancellation of the series.

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