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Pakistan disappointed at New Zealand players' pullout

Pakistan authorities expressed disappointment at the pullout of four New Zealand players.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2003 15:55 IST

Pakistan cricket authorities on Thursday expressed disappointment at the pullout of four New Zealand players from a scheduled tour of Pakistan over danger warnings.

"That players are pulling out is inexplicable," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman Samiul Hassan told AFP, referring to unspecified threats against New Zealand players.

"We are disappointed and we will write a letter to NZC to register our disappointment."

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) officials revealed earlier Wednesday that players had received warnings that their safety would be threatened if they travelled to Pakistan later this month.

Four players— senior batsmen Craig McMillan, Lou Vincent, Scott Styris and Ian Butler— have refused to tour, placing question marks over the trip.

The Kiwis fled Pakistan in May 2002 when a suicide car bomber killed 14 people outside their hotel in terror-hit southern city Karachi in the middle of a one-day tour. The November tour is meant to be a revival of last year's abandoned tour.

NZC did not reveal details of the threat but it has delayed naming the team to tour Pakistan until an investigation into the warning is completed.

Foreign teams stayed away from Pakistan following the May 2002 bombing and only began returning in September when Bangladesh toured, followed by South Africa.

Both tours came off peacefully although South Africa avoided Karachi and northwest city Peshawar on the grounds of risk and the team was flanked by presidential-level security squads.

"Security is perfect. Recently South Africa toured Pakistan and played five one-day games and three Test matches, so that's not a problem," Hassan said.

"It's a matter between New Zealand players and New Zealand Cricket (NZC). They have to deal with it. Naturally we would have liked a full-strength New Zealand team to come to Pakistan."

New Zealand only decided to proceed with the tour last week after a comprehensive security review by an independent adviser, but gave players and officials the option of staying home.

First Published: Nov 13, 2003 15:43 IST