By Asif Shahzad
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -New Zealand on Friday abandoned their limited-overs series in Pakistan after receiving a security alert, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said.
New Zealand officials had informed the PCB that they were “unilaterally suspending” all their scheduled matches in Pakistan, the PCB said in a statement.
The series was scheduled to begin on Friday in Rawalpindi.
“PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last minute withdrawal,” the PCB said.
New Zealand were visiting Pakistan for the first time in 18 years and were due to play three one-day internationals and five Twenty20 matches in Rawalpindi and Lahore.
Hours before the PCB announcement, New Zealand refused to travel to the stadium in Rawalpindi where they were due to play the first one-day international against Pakistan, citing security concerns, two Pakistani officials told Reuters before the PCB announcement.
“New Zealand’s government instructed them to stay in the hotel due to security threats,” one of the officials who was directly involved in the security details said.
New Zealand’s cricket board said arrangements were being made for the team’s departure back home, citing an escalation in threat levels and the advice of security advisors.
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