Following the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan, New Zealand’s long-awaited tour to its neighbouring country, Pakistan, has become subject to certain security concerns, Stuff reported.
Head of the NZ Cricket Players Association Heath Mills told the publication that longtime independent security consultant Reg Dickason would visit Pakistan for a detailed assessment of the situation there.
“We’re very comfortable with the process we’ve got, but notwithstanding that, with events in Afghanistan in the last few days, it’s very sad what’s happening in that country and people are obviously asking questions of our security check processes,” Mills told Stuff.
“That includes players, which is completely understandable. We just need to assure them of the process, and follow it, and reach a determination.”
Dickason is scheduled to undertake a standard security check which is applicable to every tour, Mills said, which is in line with the agreement between the NZCPA and NZC.
“That will take him four or five days and then he’ll report back, and recommend whether the tour goes ahead, or it doesn’t for whatever reason […] if there are changes to whatever the plan might be.”
Even if the tour moves forward as planned, the Black Caps can exit Pakistan at any time that Dickason feels “uncomfortable” with the squad’s presence in the country, he said.
“If any players decided not to tour for safety reasons they could withdraw without fear of repercussions from NZC. None had yet indicated they were reconsidering their place on the tours,” Stuff reported, quoting Mills.
The New Zealand Cricket expects its squad to depart for Bangladesh according to schedule next week, Stuff reported, as the 15-man Kiwis squad is set to depart from Auckland on Monday for a five-match T20I series starting in Dhaka on September 1.
The Pakistan Cricket Board, however, says it wasn’t told that New Zealand had any reservations over the tour.
“Pakistan Cricket Board is preparing for the series in Rawalpindi,” the PCB spokesperson said, noting that like the Pakistan Super League’s foreign players, NZ’s squad will be provided “state guest” security.
On Reg Dickason’s visit to Pakistan before the team’s arrival, the spokesperson said his arrival was already scheduled, ruling out news of it being a surprise visit.
“Reg Dickason is New Zealand and England’s security consultant, and he will provide feedback to both the countries,” the spokesperson said.
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