24 members of NZ cricket squad return to Auckland after Pak tour cancellation

Auckland, Sep 22 (IANS): A 24-member-strong New Zealand squad returned to Auckland on a flight from Dubai on Wednesday morning after the white-ball series against Pakistan was cancelled owing to security concerns hours before the start of the One-day International series in Rawalpindi on September 17.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) posted a video of the squad emerging from the aircraft at Auckland on Wednesday morning andf tweeted, "The 24 strong BLACKCAPS touring squad have arrived home into Auckland from Dubai and will shortly begin the mandatory 14 days in MIQ (managed isolation and quarantine).

Earlier on September 19, a 34-member New Zealand squad had arrived in Dubai in the early hours after taking a charter flight from Islamabad following the cancellation of the series.

NZC had then issued a statement that of the 34-member group, 24 would return to New Zealand over the next week, as flights and MIQ (managed isolation and quarantine) rooms in New Zealand became available.

"The MIQ arrangements initially booked for these squad members at the end of the Pakistan tour will now be cancelled. The balance of the touring party will remain in the UAE and join up with the BLACKCAPS T20 World Cup squad, ahead of that tournament commencing on October 17," NZC had said in a statement on September 19.

NZC chief executive David White said he was grateful to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for helping organise the safe departure of the New Zealand team.

"We appreciate this has been a terribly difficult time for the PCB and wish to pass on our sincere thanks to chief executive Wasim Khan and his team for their professionalism and care," said White.

White said NZC and the New Zealand team had been looking forward to the Pakistan series but were faced with no option but to abandon the tour after receiving, on Friday, advice from the New Zealand government of a specific, credible threat.

"This advice was supported by NZC's security consultants - who were on the ground in Pakistan, and by other independent sources. While the general tenor of the threat was immediately shared with the PCB, Mr White reiterated that specific details could not, and will not, be disclosed - privately or publicly," NZC said in a statement.

"What I can say is that we were advised this was a specific and credible threat against the team. We had several conversations with New Zealand government officials before making the decision and it was after informing the PCB of our position that we understand a telephone discussion was conducted between the respective Prime Ministers. Unfortunately, given the advice we'd received, there was no way we could stay in the country," said White.



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