WELLINGTON: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday that she totally supported New Zealand Cricket's decision to pull out of its Pakistan tour as the safety of the players was paramount.
"When I spoke with the Prime Minister of Pakistan I conveyed our thanks for taking care of the New Zealand Cricket team," Ardern said in a statement sent to Reuters.
"I know how disappointing it will be for everyone that the game hasn't gone ahead, but we totally support the decision that's been made. Player safety has to be paramount.
Earlier, in a major setback, the cricket series between Pakistan and New Zealand was cancelled, an announcement made minutes after the first One-Day International was supposed to start.
The development came as a major blow for Pakistan, and its efforts to revive regular international cricket on its soil. New Zealand were touring Pakistan for the first time in 18 years.
The news also came as a surprise as New Zealand had earlier given the formal go-ahead to its cricket team’s tour to Pakistan.
The approval came after their independent consultant Reg Dickason gave the green-light to security arrangements in Pakistan following a week-long pre-tour check.