Dubai: New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has called Pakistan a ‘special place’ for cricket and is hoping that the pullout of the Kiwis from the white ball series in the country won’t have a lasting impact.
“They were obviously over there, ready to go to the ground. It is a sudden thing that happened. I certainly hope there is no lasting impact from it because it is a special place for cricket to be and there have been a lot of strides forward to see cricket go back into Pakistan and play there safely. We have seen that happen on a number of occasions, so hopefully, there is plenty more cricket there to come,” Williamson was quoted as saying in an interview.
The 31-year-old right-handed batsman, who is leading Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, added that the decision to pull out was not players’ alone and rested with the government.
“You want to be playing the game in all countries. It is an international game and there is so much passion for it around the world, particularly in Pakistan. It was really exciting to see the series go back there and I know our team was looking forward to it. Players’ safety is paramount and when you hear messages going through from the government, it is certainly above the players’ heads,” Williamson said.
“I don’t know the details [of pullout]. It was a sudden call, but obviously, a real shame. Cricket in Pakistan is an amazing thing and so well supported. There is so much passion there and I think the guys will be gutted to not have started and playing the whole series. But I am not sure of the details since I am in Dubai for the IPL. I will find out a bit more about it over the next few days,” Williamson added.
David White, the CEO of New Zealand Cricket (NZC), is hopeful of finding a window during next year for the abandoned white-ball series against Pakistan to take place. White reiterated that apart from abandoning the tour, there was no other option left for them.
A window next year?
“I’m sure we’ll find a window. We are scheduled to play them next year in January and February, two Test matches as part of the World Test Championships and some ODIs, so maybe we can wrap the games around those series,” said White on Mornings with Ian Smith show on SENZ Radio on Monday.
“(The Pakistan Cricket Board) were fantastic, very professional. We will work through with them over the coming weeks and months to ensure we fulfill our obligations to them, we’ve got to play five ODIs and three T20s against them. It’s really disappointing for Pakistan cricket, but we had no option but to leave the tour, unfortunately,” added White.
The 60-year-old, who represented New Zealand in two Tests and three ODIs in 1990, spoke about how despite extensive precautions, a serious threat came around. “I was at home and we got a call from a government agency on Friday afternoon informing us of a specific credible threat against the team. I contacted our security person in Pakistan, which was at 3am in the morning and we just worked through it with him on the ground and other independent sources as well.”