Pakistan vs New Zealand at the Pakistani grounds was what the fans anticipated the day big news was announced. It was the first time since the return of international cricket in Pakistan that one of the big four teams agreed to visit the country. The tour had 5 T20is and 3 Odis to be played in Lahore and Rawalpindi.
On the morning of the first ODI in Rawalpindi, 17th September 2021, the news circulated in media that the New Zealand cricket team has refused to play the game. The officials cited security threats as the reason for refusal and demanded immediate departure. The political officials and head of state from Pakistan interfered but the touring party stated their stay in Pakistan as “impossible”.
The decision ignited anger amongst the home audience including fans and officials. The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Ramiz Raja stamped an aggressive statement on NewZealand pulling out of tour ‘without sharing the threat’.
Pakistan has already faced the repercussions in form of England canceling their tour, and with Australia next to come, very little could be hoped. The Pakistan Cricket Board worked extremely hard for a long time to bring international cricket back to the country after the attack on the Srilankan cricket team in 2009. Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Westindies, South Africa, and Srilanka have toured Pakistan in the last three years, and they all were given presidential security, same offered to NewZealand as well. Still, the Kiwis took a step that has dented Pakistan’s efforts to a great extent.
On Wednesday, 22nd September, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry shared snapshots and proofs of fake emails and tweets that threatened the New Zealand cricket team of a potential bomb blast in Rawalpindi if they play the match. The emails were generated from India with the use of a VPN to change the location. Those emails were regarded as the reason for tour cancellations. Taking those emails as a base, an Indian editor, Abhinandan Mishra wrote an article claiming that the New Zealand cricket team has a security threat in Pakistan. The email was generated by Omprakash Mishra, having multiple email ids in his custody. While the tweet was posted under the name of the former chief of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Ehsan Ullah Ehsan.
The threat was not shared by the New Zealand cricket team officials at that time, and an abrupt decision to cancel the tour was taken. If they had shared the threat, Pakistan’s ISI which is regarded as the best intelligence agency in the world could have easily defied it. Apart from that, the team was given prime level security and they had been traveling from hotel to stadium for practice each day before the first official match. Moreover, the New Zealand women’s team received a threat in England two days later, which was termed as ‘not credible’ and the match went on as scheduled. Then what was the reason for this weird behavior against Pakistan? The Kiwis betrayed the Pakistanis.
THE WESTERN BLOC
During an interview with Jonathan Swat, Prime Minister Imran Khan was asked about his allowance to the CIA for using Pakistani bases against Taliban in Afghanistan, to which he replied “absolutely not”. Since then, the western bloc that includes the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc. has been finding ways to isolate Afghanistan and countries supporting it. However, still, there is no official word from Pakistan regarding its support to the newly formed Taliban Government. India has always been against Pakistan and is on verge of losing millions of dollar investments in Afghanistan which it did pre Taliban. The involvement of India in those threat emails received by the New Zealand cricket team is, therefore, no surprise. Moreover, it is reported that the New Zealand officials received threat reports from British and American agencies, so the dots are proving to be an easy puzzle. All in all, with such dazzling security arrangements, and super smart intelligence service, the last moment back-off by the Kiwis was a planned intrigued by the international forces. Pakistan was stabbed through a 5th generation warfare tactic, despite being one of the most kind-hearted cricket nations ever.
PAKISTAN: THE GENTLEMEN OF THE GAME
Pakistan cricket team has always worked for the betterment of the cricket fraternity. The team toured England and New Zealand before the invention of Covid vaccines with thousands of death being recorded each day. The players stood up to all the protocols and quarantine policies, stayed away from home for months, and risked their mental health so that the game never stops. Whereas, the kind of treatment Pakistan got in return when it needed the best from fellow cricketing nations was nothing short of betrayal. Even the fans and journalists from England and New Zealand have criticized the decision to cancel the Pakistan tour.
The Pakistan Cricket Board should take bold steps on international forums and should confront the boards of these countries. It took a lot of effort and sacrifices to bring cricket back to Pakistan, and the nation will not let it go this easily. Good days will be back in Pakistan cricket, God Willing.
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