The New Zealand cricket team arrived in Dubai in the early hours of Sunday after taking a charter flight from Islamabad following the cancellation of the white-ball series against Pakistan on September 17 due to security concerns.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) posted pictures of the players emerging from the aircraft and walking on the tarmac towards the arrival lounge.
“The BLACKCAPS have arrived in Dubai after leaving Islamabad on a charter flight last night (New Zealand time). The contingent of 34 players and support staff are now settling into their Dubai hotel and undergoing their 24-hour period of self-isolation,” NZC tweeted.
Of this group, 24 will return to New Zealand over the next week or so, as flights and MIQ (managed isolation and quarantine) rooms in New Zealand become available, said NZC.
“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 said in a statement.
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.
White said NZC remained comfortable with its initial decision to tour Pakistan, based on comprehensive assessments of the security situation, and the risk mitigation measures promised.
“Everything changed on Friday,” he said. “The advice changed, the threat level changed and, as a consequence, we took the only responsible course of action possible.”