Cricket, Pakistan dread becoming a no-go zone again after New Zealand snob

After a decade of trying to bring back the international cricket elite, Pakistan faces the prospect of being declared a no-go zone again, and the anger is palpable.

A sense of déjà vu swept across the country on Friday when New Zealand abruptly halted its first tour of Pakistan in 18 years, citing a security alert. With England’s board yet to decide on what will be their first visit to the South Asian country in 16 years next month, Pakistan’s bumper home season looks in disarray .

It’s a massive setback for the mad cricketer nation that has moved heaven and earth to project itself as a safe destination and won touring engagements from several top teams. “It has been quite heartbreaking,” PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said at a virtual press conference on Sunday.

“We have done a tremendous job of rebuilding our credibility in world cricket. The carpet has been ripped from under our feet as fast as that.” Cricket Australia said it was monitoring the situation and “will speak to the relevant authorities once more information is known” ahead of their tour scheduled for early next year.

Cricket West Indies did not respond to Reuters email asking if they would reconsider their tour of Pakistan later this year, but the atmosphere is not promising. “The abrupt departure from New Zealand has left us with a lot of scars, and we just hope it won’t have long-term consequences for us in the future,” Khan added.

With the Taliban coming to power in neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistan will have to redouble its efforts to try to convince other teams to visit the country. Shunned by all after the deadly 2009 attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore, Pakistan’s home games in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were played without fan support and brought in little income to PCB. Pakistan have no plans to move home games abroad again, Khan said.

Trial cricket returned to the country when Sri Lanka returned in 2019, but PCB officials know the country will only be considered safe when countries like England and Australia are on tour. PREVIOUS DANGEROUS

In recent times, teams touring Pakistan have enjoyed the kind of security usually reserved for visiting heads of state and their cricket establishment is wondering what else they could have done. “New Zealand just killed Pakistani cricket,” former test player Shoaib Akhtar tweeted, as angry fans demanded Pakistan boycott next month’s Twenty20 World Cup match against New Zealand. Zealand.

The PCB has ruled out this prospect but is furious at New Zealand’s refusal to share the exact nature of the threat that derailed the tour. “It sets a very dangerous precedent if countries can unilaterally give up touring. It then affects relations. Where does that leave us as a sport?” Khan asked.

The PCB official said he would make a broader point at the International Cricket Council (ICC), seeking to end “inequality” within the governing body. “Inequality exists, and I don’t care what people say,” said the former British-born chief executive of the English county of Leicester.

“It is easy to leave countries like Pakistan without any reason, without any dialogue, without any discussion. It has to end, because the inequality has to end in the world of cricket.” Players are already dreading the prospect of having to resume their overseas “home” games, but Khan said the PCB would not fall without a fight.

“As it stands, we don’t plan to go overseas to play cricket,” Khan said. “It took us a long time to get back. We are confident that we stay safe, but of course we also have to have contingencies and backups.” (Edited by Nick Mulvenney and Michael Perry)

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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