New Zealand weighing up offer to play in Pakistan

Pakistan


NZC is weighing up a request from the PCB to play in Pakistan later this year. Pakistan are currently scheduled to “host” New Zealand for a full tour of the UAE, comprising most likely of three Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is, in October-November.

“NZC has received a request from the PCB chairman for New Zealand to play in Pakistan,” a spokesman for the New Zealand board said. “At the moment NZC is doing due diligence on the request and consulting with security providers, the government, and the players. We will respond to the PCB when this process has been completed.”

New Zealand have not played Test cricket in Pakistan since their tour in 2002 ended in dramatic and tragic circumstances. Scheduled to play a two-Test series, the tour was cut short after one Test. On the morning the second Test was due to start, a massive bomb blast outside the hotel the teams were staying at killed 15 people, including 11 French engineers. The New Zealand team was not thought to be a target.

The tour was immediate cancelled, with the team flying back home that very day. New Zealand did, however, come to Pakistan the following year to play an ODI series.

They were also scheduled to tour in December 2009, but the terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March that year put paid to that. The attacks led to Pakistan cricket moving away from the country – a situation that remains largely unchanged. Cricket has begun to trickle back to the country, amid presidential-style security in Lahore and Karachi.

Since Zimbabwe visited for three ODIs and two T20Is in 2015, Pakistan has played host to four Pakistan Super League matches, three T20Is against an ICC World XI, one T20I against Sri Lanka and three T20Is against the West Indies last month.

Pakistan are also due to host Australia in the UAE this winter for a limited-overs series, but a CA spokesman confirmed no part of that series would be played in Pakistan. “The safety and security of Australian players is our number one priority,” he said. “From an Australia team perspective, we are not contemplating moving our current bilateral-tour arrangements from taking on Pakistan in the Middle East, when they host the next series.”

New Zealand and Australia are the two Full Member sides who have gone longest without touring Pakistan. Australia last arrived in Pakistan two decades ago in 1998, playing three Tests and five ODIs. New Zealand have not visited the country since their limited-overs series in 2003.



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