Teammates congratulate New Zealand's Tim Southee, center, after taking the wicket of Australia's D'Arcy Short during their Twenty/20 cricket match in Sydney, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Wellington: New Zealand has declined an offer to return to play cricket in Pakistan for the first time in 15 years.
The Pakistan Cricket Board issued an invitation in April for New Zealand to play two Twenty20s in their country as part of a bigger series, most of which will take place in the United Arab Emirates between October and December.
The series will comprise three tests, three one-day internationals and three T20s, and all of those matches will now be played in the UAE.
Chairman Greg Barclay said New Zealand wrote to Pakistan last week declining the invitation. “We were open-minded and went through all the information,” Barclay said. “It was an extensive due diligence exercise: government advisory, (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), ICC, independent security consultants, and those were peer reviewed back here as well.
“We just came to the decision that given the current circumstances, it just wasn’t right for us to accept the invitation to play in Pakistan.” New Zealand last toured Pakistan in December 2003. A tour 18 months earlier was cut short by a bomb blast outside the touring team’s Karachi hotel on the morning the second test was due to begin.
International teams have routinely refused to tour Pakistan since Sri Lanka’s team bus was attacked in Lahore in 2009. Pakistan has since played home games in the UAE, a decision the PCB’s chief executive estimates has cost $140 million in stadium hire and accommodation.