Auckland, Sep 26 (IANS): New Zealand cricket coach Gary Stead stated on Sunday that the decision to abandon the limited-overs tour of Pakistan hours before the start of the first One-day International in Rawalpindi on September 17 had got nothing to do with the players.
New Zealand had called off their white-ball tour because of security concerns with New Zealand Cricket (NZC) issuing a statement saying that, "Following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the BLACKCAPS will not continue with the tour."
On Sunday, Stead said, "That decision (to abandon the tour) was out of our hands, and the guys are now in Dubai and getting ready, and there's the IPL that they can have a good look at, which in many ways is good preparation for them as well."
Of the 34-member squad, 24 players and support staff returned to New Zealand, while the others stayed back in the UAE for the IPL and to continue their World Cup preparaions. Among those who stayed back in the Emirates to continue their preparations for the ICC T20 World Cup are, Martin Guptill, Mark Chapman, Daryl Mitchell, Todd Astle and Ish Sodhi.
"The batting coach Thilan Samaraweera and security consultant Reg Dickason remain with the five players in the United Arab Emirates," Stead told stuff.co.nz on Sunday. Stead said he had asked his players to "block out the noise and hype" around the T20 World Cup opener against Pakistan and just concentrate on their preparations.
On the death threats reportedly received by New Zealand cricketers in Pakistan, Stead said, he was "unaware of players receiving death threats". "Sometimes you don't get made aware of everything, either. It's really hard for me to comment on."
He added the five players who were part of the squad that had travelled to Pakistan and were now training in the UAE for T20 World Cup "were in good spirits" and training under Samaraweera. Besides, nine other members of the T20 World Cup squad and reserve player Adam Milne are playing for their respective franchises in the Indian Premier League.
"I think they're OK. It was obviously unsettling and disappointing what happened in Pakistan and we certainly feel for the Pakistan cricket fraternity and fans."