Cricket-New Zealand squad arrives home after Pakistan pull-out


(Reuters) - New Zealand's cricket squad arrived home on Wednesday after abandoning their tour of Pakistan last week citing a security threat in the south Asian nation.

New Zealand's withdrawal dealt a massive blow to Pakistan's hopes of staging regular international cricket, with England subsequently calling off their men's and women's tours.

The 24-strong Black Caps squad landed in Auckland after flying from Dubai and will spend the next 14 days in mandatory COVID-19 hotel quarantine.

Tom Latham, New Zealand's stand-in captain for the cancelled tour, said the squad had a "hectic" 24 hours once they found out they were heading home.

"We managed to get to Dubai 24 hours after the decision was made," he told the team's in-house media channel.

"The guys dealt with it all slightly differently but we stayed tight as a group over there in those 24 hours we had in Islamabad."

The tour was called off on the day the first one-day international was due to be played after a "specific and credible" threat directed at the New Zealand squad, New Zealand Cricket boss David White said.

The withdrawal and England's subsequent cancellation drew a furious reaction from Pakistan's cricket board, with chairman Ramiz Raja saying the nation had been "used and binned" by the game's Western bloc.

Latham said it was "naturally very disappointing" for Pakistan and their fans.

"It was something they were very proud of," he said.

"It was an historic moment for New Zealand Cricket to be back there 18 years since they were last there.

"To be part of that was going to be something special, but obviously things changed."

Latham thanked Pakistan authorities for keeping the squad safe.

"While we were there after the decision, the Pakistan authorities were brilliant," he said.

"We certainly need to thank them."

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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