ISLAMABAD, Sep 17 (APP): New Zealand’s unilateral approach to call off Pakistan tour at the last minute, citing security reasons has drawn massive criticism from cricket fraternity in the country. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja expressed his disappointment at the New Zealand decision. “Crazy day it has been! Feel so sorry for the fans and our players,” Ramiz said on his twitter handle moments after the series was abandoned by the Black Caps. "Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it is not shared! Which world is NZ living in? NZ will hear us at ICC," he added. Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar lambasted the New Zealand cricket authorities for pulling out of the series unilaterally, saying Pakistan’s image had been hurt before the whole world. "We stand firm with our government, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), our Army and security agencies," he told a private news channel. Shoaib said that it was unfortunate for PCB Chief Ramiz Raja, who took over the reins of the board a few days ago. "You have to understand that Pakistan's image has been damaged. I am not concerned about Pakistan cricket at the moment, I care for the country's image," he said. Former Pakistani fast bowler Sikander Bakht also lashed out at the New Zealand authorities, saying that their security alert was indeed an excuse to abandon the tour. "They practiced here for five days. Not a single stone was hurled at them. Withdrawing at the last minute is very disappointing," he said. He said Pakistan had facilitated countries around the world by playing Test matches in difficult conditions, in England and elsewhere. "We went the extra mile for them, we played Test matches for them. And they are the ones who hit us. I was saying at the time that they [New Zealand] will not come to Pakistan and the same has happened now. For God's sake, do not help them [New Zealand] again," he said. Pakistan captain Babar Azam took to twitter to express his frustration over the New Zealand’s decision to withdraw from the series. "Extremely disappointed on the abrupt postponement of the series, which could have brought the smiles back for millions of Pakistan cricket fans. "I've full trust in the capabilities and credibility of our security agencies. They are our pride and always will be! Pakistan Zindabad!" Babar remarked. Fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi said he was lost for words after the news of the postponement broke out,.
“Wish I had words to describe my disappointment. We not only have the best security forces in the world but many foreign teams have successfully and peacefully completed their cricket tours in Pakistan.
“Can feel for the cricket lovers in Pakistan & around the world,” he said.
All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez said nation was proud that Pakistan was a safe country.
“Postponing series is absolutely sad news for [the] whole nation,” he remarked.
Vice-captain Shadab Khan said successful holding of Pakistan Super League and other teams’ visits to Pakistan was a proof that the county’s hospitality was matchless and its security arrangements were flawless.
“This is heartbreaking. Pakistanis love cricket so much, we have worked really hard to bring cricket back here,” he said.
Batsman Shan Masood feared that New Zealand’s decision would run counter Pakistan’s efforts to get international cricket back in the country.
“Pakistan has made monumental efforts to get international cricket back on track. We’ve lost a lot with no international cricket for 6 years in the past and today might set us back again.
“The pulling out and the abrupt timing of the decision is extremely disappointing,” he added.
Fast bowler Junaid Khan termed the decision a “heartbreaking news.” He said New Zealand should have used another reason for cancelling the tour.
“Security isn’t a reason because Pakistan has one of the best Security base[s] in the world,” he said.
Fast bowler Haris Rauf in his comments said a wrong precedent had been set. It is not a good omen for the cricketing fraternity, as the county’s security and intelligence agencies are capable to assess any kind of threat, he added.
Fast bowler Hassan Ali said Pakistan was a safe country. He assured the fans that the sad feelings would be turned into happy ones.
Earlier, Great Shahid Afridi also took to twitter and blasted the New Zealand cricket team for their decision.
“On a hoax threat you have called off the tour despite all assurances! Black Caps do you understand the impact of your decision?” he asked.