The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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PCB issues pull-out threat

Karachi: Pakistan cricketers threatened to cancel their upcoming tour of New Zealand if the Black Caps abandon a scheduled tour of Pakistan due to start later this month because of security concerns.

“If New Zealand do not fulfil their obligation, we are not going to tour New Zealand,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Lt Gen. Tauqir Zia said.

New Zealand Cricket officials said on Friday they would decide by Monday whether the tour of Pakistan would go ahead after threats made against the players in an e-mail message.

Full details of the threats have not been released but NZC chief executive Martin Snedden said it was “very direct — it is explicit about the Black Caps in Pakistan and a warning not to go.”The email message “certainly threatened consequences if the team were to ignore the warning”.

Pakistan are scheduled to play two Test matches and five one-dayers from December 5, during a tour to New Zealand. “It is a policy decision that we will not go to New Zealand if it does not come to play in Pakistan,” Lt Gen. Zia said. The PCB termed the letter a “hoax.”

“South Africa also received a similar hoax letter before coming to Pakistan but after we gave them the assurance they believed us and sent their team,” a PCB spokesman said.

‘Definitely shaken’

Meanwhile, NZC officials said Friday they will decide by Monday at the latest whether the tour of Pakistan will go ahead this month after threats were made against the players if the series proceeds.

Four players and an official who decided not to tour had withdrawn before the threat was received earlier this week.

Craig McMillan, Scott Styris, Lou Vincent, Ian Butler and team video analyst Zach Hitchcock made themselves unavailable because of trauma from witnessing a fatal bomb blast in Karachi during New Zealand’s tour of Pakistan last year.

Heath Mills, manager of New Zealand Players Association, said members of the New Zealand team currently playing in India were “definitely shaken” by the threat, but he could not say if more players would refuse to go to Pakistan.

Snedden said officials were gathering as much information as they could about the threat and “until we’ve really gone through that process it’s a bit difficult to know” if the tour will go ahead. He said a decision would be made by Sunday or Monday.

New Zealand’s ambassador to Iran, Niels Holm, who is also accredited to Pakistan, described the e-mail as “vaguely threatening”, the Dominion Post reported. He said it was not unusual, particularly in Pakistan. “It’s the sort of thing that if you saw it painted on a wall you wouldn’t pay a blind bit of attention to it.”

The Black Caps cut short their tour of Pakistan last year following a bomb explosion outside their hotel in Karachi and the country became a no-go zone for other cricketing nations until Bangladesh toured in August this year, and South Africa followed last month.

“Security is perfect. Recently South Africa toured Pakistan and played five one-day games and three Test matches, so that’s not a problem,” the PCB spokesman said.

The revised New Zealand itinerary, due to start on November 22, also avoids Karachi.

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