At a time when the cricketing world is still coming to grips with New Zealand’s decision to abandon their Pakistan limited-overs tour barely hours before the first ODI citing security reasons, West Indies opener Chris Gayle, in a jest, said he is willing to travel to Pakistan on Sunday.
Gayle, who is known for seeing the lighter side of things even in the most serious of situations, is currently in UAE training with Punjab Kings side for remainder of IPL 2021 beginning on Sunday. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), however, retweeted Gayle’s tweet from their official handle.
I’m going to Pakistan tomorrow, who coming with me? 😉🙌🏿
— Chris Gayle (@henrygayle) September 18, 2021
Gayle’s tweet generated a lot of attention among fans. Mohammad Amir, too reacted to the West Indies’ opener’s comment.
see u there legend 😁😁😁😁
— Mohammad Amir (@iamamirofficial) September 18, 2021
Here is how the fans reacted to Gayle’s ‘going to Pakistan tomorrow’ tweet
Pakistan is safest country in the world, If Pakistan is not a safe country for cricket then no country in the world safe for cricket. pic.twitter.com/iyJaELT0er
— Anwar Ulhaq (@anwarulha) September 18, 2021
West Indies is second home of Pakistanis. We love you guys. You are real gem.
— Fazal Abbas (@_AbbasFazal) September 18, 2021
No IPL for u Universe boss???
— Arnav (@Arnav_Sports) September 18, 2021
Take Pollard with you
~ CSK frnd via dms
— Prithvi (@Puneite_) September 18, 2021
Gayle is not the only West Indies cricketer to comment on the situation. Two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain Darren Sammy, who has a been a regular feature in the Pakistan Super League, too voiced his opinion and said he has faced no security concerns during his multiple visits to Pakistan in the last six years.
“Disappointed waking up to the news of the cancellation of the Pakistan Vs New Zealand series because of security issues. Over the last 6 years playing and visiting Pakistan has been one of the most enjoyable experiences. I’ve always felt safe. this is a massive blow to Pakistan,” Sammy tweeted.
Disappointed waking up to the news of the cancellation of the Pakistan Vs New Zealand series because of security issues.Over the last 6 years playing and visiting Pakistan has been one of the most enjoyable experiences. I’ve always felt safe. this is a massive blow to Pakistan ☹️
— Daren Sammy (@darensammy88) September 17, 2021
The New Zealand cricket team, meanwhile, arrived in Dubai early Sunday after leaving Pakistan but officials refused to give details of the security threat that forced them to abruptly cancel their tour.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has coped a lot of criticism from the PCB, former and current Pakistan cricketers for their decision.
New Zealand abandoned its tour of Pakistan minutes before the first match on Friday in Rawalpindi after its government issued a security alert. New Zealand media reported the touring party left Pakistan on Saturday aboard a charter flight to the United Arab Emirates.
“There’s a lot of pressure created on Pakistan cricket and (especially) Pakistan cricket at home,” PCB chairman Ramiz Raja told cricket fans in a video message released on Saturday.
“The fight to survive is the base on which we challenge the whole world. If such a situation is developed (again) when international cricket comes under pressure in Pakistan, we will challenge them once again.”
Pakistan was awaiting a decision from the England and Wales Cricket Board this weekend on the fate of scheduled short tours by the England men’s and women’s teams next month.
The West Indies is also due in December and Australia in February.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday said it alerted NZC to a “credible, specific” security threat to the New Zealand team.
“New Zealand agencies have provided ongoing and consistent advice that Pakistan remains a high threat security environment, as outlined in the New Zealand government travel advisory for Pakistan which notes there is a significant threat from terrorism throughout Pakistan,” the ministry said in a statement.
(With agency inputs)