New Zealand abandon Pakistan tour: 8 instances when sporting events got affected on security grounds

Here is a look at instances when sport, often a tool to propagate the idea of world peace, found itself caught in the crossfire.

2021 New Zealand tour of Pakistan (cricket)

New Zealand pulled out of their cricket series against Pakistan on Friday (September 17) over security concerns just as the first one-day international was due to start, in a devastating blow to the South Asian country.

The move is a massive setback to Pakistan, which has been trying to revive tours by foreign sides after home internationals were suspended in the aftermath of a 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan side.

"Following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from (New Zealand Cricket) security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the BLACKCAPS will not continue with the tour," New Zealand Cricket said in a statement. 

Arrangements are being made for the team to leave the country.

The Kiwis were in Pakistan for the first time since 2003 and were due to play three ODIs, followed by five Twenty20 matches. 

(Photograph:AFP)

2019 Sri Lanka opt out of Pakistan tour (cricket)

Ten Sri Lankan players, including Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera, pulled out of the tour of Pakistan citing security concerns, officials said on September 9.  

The Sri Lanka Cricket board said players in a preliminary squad were briefed on security arrangements for the six-match limited over series starting September 27 and the 10 players "chose to stay away".

(Photograph:AFP)

2019 Bangladesh tour of New Zealand (cricket)

A day before the start of what was to be the third and final Test of the tour, Bangladesh's cricket team was on its way for Friday (March 15) prayers at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, which was to be followed by a practice session.

The mosque came under attack from a gunman, identified as an Australian extremist, and led to the killing atleast 49 people.

The visiting team narrowly avoided the shooting after arriving at the mosque for prayers. 

New Zealand Cricket said they had decided to cancel the Test, which was scheduled to start at Hagley Oval on Saturday (March 16), after discussions with the Bangladesh Cricket Board. 

The photo shows, police cordon off the area in front of the Masjid al Noor mosque after a shooting incident in Christchurch. 

(Photograph:AFP)

2002 New Zealand tour of Pakistan (cricket)

New Zealand's cricket team was touring Pakistan in 2002 when a bomb went off outside their hotel, killing 12 people. 

The players were unscathed but the Black Caps' Board decided to call back the team. 

The teams were supposed to play a two-match series and Pakistan won the Test series 1–0. New Zealand were captained by Stephen Fleming and Pakistan by Waqar Younis. In addition, the teams played a three-match Limited Overs International (LOI) series which Pakistan won 3–0. 

A year before this, New Zealand were on their way to Pakistan for a series before heading back midway owing to the September 11 terror attack in the USA. The series was eventually abandoned. 

In the photo, New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming (L), Craig McMillan (R) and Nathan Astle (C) at Karachi airport, 18 April 2002. 

(Photograph:AFP)

2009 Sri Lanka tour of Pakistan (cricket)

On March 3, the Sri Lankan team was on its way to play what was to be the third day of the second Test against Pakistan at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

The team bus was, however, intercepted by at least a dozen terrorists who fired at the bus, killing at least eight people and wounding six team members, police said. 

Up to 12 gunmen attacked the team's convoy near the Gaddafi stadium with rockets, hand grenades and automatic weapons, triggering a 25-minute gun battle with security forces, said police chief. 

Six policemen died protecting the players while two civilians were also killed.  

In the photo, Sri Lankan cricket team members disembark from a Pakistani military helicopter onto the playing surface at The National Stadium in Lahore on March 3, 2009. 

Pakistani air force helicopters evacuated the Sri Lankan cricket team -- including two players on stretchers -- from the stadium after a deadly ambush.    

(Photograph:AFP)

2010 African Nations Cup Football Tournament

Togo's national football side was travelling through the Angolan province of Cabinda for the African Nations Cup when the team bus came under gun fire from separatists.

The side's assistant manager and media officer were killed in the attack. 

In the photo, Togolese gendarmes carry the coffin wrapped in the national flag of one of the victims of the attack that killed two of members of the Togolese national football team on January 8, 2010. 

(Photograph:AFP)

1987 New Zealand tour of Sri Lanka (cricket)

It was supposed to be a three-Test tour but New Zealand abandoned it after just the first match when a bomb planted by separatists exploded near the team hotel in Colombo, killing 113 civilians. 

As a result, no international tours of Sri Lanka were undertaken until 1992. 

(Photograph:AFP)

1972 Munich Olympics

The most gruesome incident of targetted violence against sportsperons happened on September 5, 1972.

Eleven Israeli athletes and coaches were taken hostage and eventually murdered by terrorists during a 16-hour ordeal as the world witnessed chilling images of athletes held captive on gunpoint. 

The photo shows Avi Melamed (2nd L), surviving member of the 1972 Israeli Olympic team. 

(Photograph:AFP)

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