February 5, 2002

Pakistan tour likely from April 20-May 18 for New Zealand

New Zealand seem almost certain to complete their postponed tour of Pakistan between April 20 and May 18 now that Pakistan authorities have received a government assurance of safe passage for the New Zealanders out of Pakistan in the event of any problems.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Martin Snedden aborted the planned tour in September last year in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

At the time he said NZC would fulfil its obligations to complete the tour when the environment was safer.

In discussion with the Pakistan Cricket Board recently, he sought an assurance of safe-keeping for the New Zealanders on the tour, a commitment that has been achieved with the assistance of the Pakistan Government.

New Zealand will play three Tests and three One-Day Internationals at Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi.

However, Snedden said arrangements had not yet been finalised. He has not yet received the Government assurance from the PCB and the tour has not been discussed by the board of New Zealand Cricket.

But it will be on the agenda when the board meets in Christchurch on Wednesday of next week, before the first New Zealand-England ODI at Jade Stadium.

Snedden said it would mean the New Zealand team faced a very tough schedule.

The Test series with England ends on April 3. New Zealand then travel to Sharjah to play in the annual tournament there. From Sharjah they travel to Pakistan, and soon after returning they are due to travel to the West Indies although the tour itinerary has not yet been released.

"I have talked to the players about it and they are not averse to touring Pakistan. They just want me to be satisfied about security issues," he said.