KARACHI, Feb 18: New Zealand Cricket (NZC) Monday said it has decided to send Black Caps managers Jeff Crowe to assess the situation in Pakistan before deciding on rescheduling the cancelled tour.
According to a media statement, Crowe will arrive in Pakistan immediately after the one-day series against England and will return prior to the first Test.
The five-match one-day series concludes on Feb 26 at Dunedin. The first Test begins March 13 at Christchurch.
NZC said the offer to send a envoy to Pakistan was made by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). “The Board has decided to accept an invitation from the Pakistan Cricket Board provided concerns about player safety can be satisfied.”
NZC said Crowe would investigate any issues that might hinder the tour of Pakistan between April 20 and May 18. The proposed tour would encompass two or three Tests and three one-day internationals.
Martin Snedden, the NZC chief executive, said: “New Zealand Cricket has received assurances from the Pakistan Cricket Board and directly from the Pakistan Government that player safety will not be compromised while the team is in Pakistan.
“We believe it would also be sensible to send our own envoy to Pakistan to discuss security arrangements.
“The New Zealand Cricket Board felt, in principle, that the stability of Pakistan as a nation has improved since the immediate aftermath of September 11 when the CLEAR Black Caps tour of Pakistan was cancelled. Should issues surrounding player safety be satisfactorily resolved the Board is keen for the CLEAR Black Caps to play Pakistan as soon as practical to ensure the credibility of the World Test Championship,” Snedden said.
The NZC last week said it feared players burn-out but added that the final decision was unlikely before the end of the month.
The director of the PCB, Brig Munawwar Rana, was in New Zealand last week discussing the tour possibilities. However, the roving ambassador of PCB, first claimed that NZC would confirm about the tour Friday before claiming that the decision would be made shortly.
NZC’s change in stand and decision to send its envoy is expected to have come following Asian Cricket Council’s threat to boycott New Zealand if it refused to tour Pakistan.
Crowe also visited Pakistan in August for the tour which was initially scheduled to start Sept 14.