The third ODI of the Women’s series between England and New Zealand is set to go ahead despite threats of two separate bomb attacks on the New Zealand team in Leicester.
A New Zealand Cricket spokesman said, “As has been reported, the ECB (English Cricket Board) have received a threatening email relating to NZC. Although this did not specifically reference the White Ferns it was treated seriously, investigated, and deemed not credible.
“The White Ferns have now arrived in Leicester and, as a precaution, security around them has been boosted. Reports their training has been cancelled are false. They were not scheduled to train today as it was a travelling day. NZC will not be commenting further on the matter.”
It is reported that a member of the New Zealand team management was warned about a bomb that would be placed at the team hotel. A second warning was also issued regarding an attempt to place a bomb on the team’s plane when they will return to New Zealand.
While the NZC has deemed the threat in Leicester to be “not credible” but the team went into lockdown on Monday. The police and the counter-terrorism agencies took steps to assess and possibly neutralize the threat. For a while, it seemed that the match would be called off and the New Zealand team did not train at Grace Road. An NZC spokesman later said that the team was not scheduled to train in the first place.
Reports from inside the New Zealand camp suggest that some of the players remain apprehensive about playing the match.
This approach toward, not one but two particularly accurate, albeit “not credible”, threats is in stark contrast to how New Zealand management handled abandonment of its men’s team’s tour to Pakistan just hours before the first ODI in Rawalpindi on Friday. NZC cited an unspecified security threat to quit the tour and is yet to share the specific details of the perceived security threat despite Pakistan providing the tourists with a security protocol that is usually provided to the heads of state.
Yesterday, England Cricket Board followed suit and called off its men and women teams’ tours to Pakistan expressing “concerns about travelling to the region”. The ECB based their withdrawal on the welfare of its players, without citing any particular security threat. In this context, the Pakistan Cricket Board would feel that it has every right to raise the question as to why this specific threat in Leicester did not result in an abandonment but the unspecified one in Pakistan resulted in the NZC quitting the tour altogether.
Months before the Kiwis landed in Pakistan, both the British High Commission and the security consultants ESI Risk – who consult both the ECB and the NZC – were satisfied by the security protocols put in place by the PCB and the government of Pakistan.
An ECB spokesman has said that the governing body will not be offering any further comment on the security threat to the Kiwi women’s team touring England.