New Zealand cricket team arrived in Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: The New Zealand cricket team arrived in Pakistan on Saturday for the first time in 18 years to play three One-day Internationals and five Twenty20 Internationals.

The Kiwis landed at the Islamabad airport and headed to a hotel where they will undergo a mandatory isolation for three days before commencing a two-day practice session on Sept 15, according to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

The ODI series against New Zealand will be played at the Rawalpindi Stadium, with matches scheduled for Sept 17, 19, and 21, while the Gaddafi Stadium will host five T20s scheduled to take place from Sept 25 to Oct 3.

Meanwhile, the PCB and the New Zealand Cricket have mutually agreed to change the status of the ODI series to a bilateral series from the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League fixtures due to the non-availability of the Decision Review System (DRS) — a requirement in the event playing conditions, a PCB press release said.

As New Zealand will return to Pakistan in the 2022-23 season to play two Tests and three ODIs, the two boards have agreed that these 50-over matches will now count towards the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 qualification.

Sept 11 – Arrival in Islamabad
Sept 12-14 – Room isolation
Sept 15-16 – Training/practice/intra-squad match
Sept 17 – 1st ODI, Rawalpindi
Sept 19 – 2nd ODI, Rawalpindi
Sept 21 – 3rd ODI, Rawalpindi
Sept 25 – 1st T20I, Lahore
Sept 26 – 2nd T20I, Lahore
Sept 29 – 3rd T20I, Lahore
Oct 01 – 4th T20I, Lahore
Oct 03 – 5th T20I, Lahore

A number of former cricketers and players of current men's and women's teams expressed their contentment on the arrival of the Kiwis on a "historic tour", PCB said in a statement.

"It is a great news for passionate cricket fans that New Zealand is arriving in Pakistan after a long gap. I still remember a match between Pakistan and New Zealand in Karachi when Shoaib Akhtar bowled really fast and took six wickets," recalled Rashid Latif, former wicket-keeper of the Pakistan team.

Former Test cricketer and now national U19 coach Ijaz Ahmed said the tour of New Zealand was another step forward towards the complete resumption of the international cricket in Pakistan. "After New Zealand, England are due to visit next month here, which is fantastic for the cricket fans," he said.

Women’s team all-rounder Nida Dar is hopeful of an "excited series" between the two sides.

“I am looking forward to what promises to be exciting series. My well-wishes are with the men in green and I am sure they will do well," she said.

New Zealand are the first side to visit Pakistan in what will be an action-packed 2021-22 season for the local cricket fans. Following the tour by Black Caps, England’s men and women sides will play T20 Internationals fixtures in Karachi before West Indies are expected to arrive in the port city in December for three ODIs and three T20 Internationals.

Australia are then scheduled to undertake a full tour in February/March 2022 in what would be their first trip to Pakistan since 1998.

A bomb blast outside the New Zealand team’s hotel in Karachi in 2002 had cut short the Black Caps’ last Test tour of Pakistan, but they visited again for an ODI series the following year.

Since the 2003 ODI series, Pakistan have thrice hosted New Zealand for ODIs in the United Arab Emirates with the Black Caps winning the 2019-10 and 2014-15 series and drawing the 2018-19 rubber.

However, Pakistan won the 2009-10 and 2018-19 T20I series while the 2014-15 series was shared.

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