Shoaib Akhtar has blasted New Zealand Cricket after they gave a final warning to the Pakistan cricket team for breaching COVID protocols. Shoaib Akhtar has slammed New Zealand cricket for the treatment of the Pakistan side in their isolation facility in Christchurch

Pakistan cricket team’s tour to New Zealand has gotten off on the wrong note after six members of the contingent tested positive for the coronavirus in their isolation facility in Christchurch. With New Zealand having controlled the coronavirus pandemic remarkably with just 59 active cases so far, Pakistan cricket team members actually make up 10 percent of the whole country’s cases! Thus, it was evident that New Zealand Cricket and the New Zealand Director General of Health would issue a final warning to Pakistan. In case of another breach, the whole team could be sent back home.

This development has not pleased former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar who has lashed out at New Zealand Cricket in an unbelievable rant in a video. Shoaib Akhtar said, “New Zealand’s comment that if Pakistan’s team’s SOP (standard operating procedures) is not in place then we will cancel the tour is below the belt. I want to give a message to New Zealand board (NZC) that this is not a club team, it’s Pakistan national cricket team. We don’t need you. Our cricket has not finished and we aren’t desperate for money. You will get the broadcasting rights money. So, you should be indebted to us that we decided to tour your country in such difficult times. You are talking about Pakistan - the greatest country on the planet - so behave yourself and stop giving such statement. Be careful next time. Pakistan team now needs to smash them in T20 series,” Akhtar said.

‘Final Warning’

In a report on ESPNCricinfo, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) CEO Wasim Khan has apparently given the message to the Pakistan cricket team that they face potential deportation. “Boys, I spoke to the New Zealand government and they told us there were three or four breaches of protocols. They have a zero-tolerance policy and they've given us a final warning. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, and you went through similar conditions in England. It's not easy. But this is a matter of the nation's respect and credibility. Observe these 14 days and then you'll have the freedom to go to restaurants and roam about freely. They have told me in clear terms that if we commit one more breach, they'll send us home,” Wasim Khan said on a WhatsApp voice message that was accessed by ESPNCricinfo.

Following the reports of the breach, New Zealand Cricket has given Pakistan a final warning but now there has been a strong rebuke from New Zealand's director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. The Director General of Health said, “(It is) a privilege to come to New Zealand to play sport, but in return teams must stick to the rules that are designed to keep Covid-19 out of our communities.”

Sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board said that the six who tested positive for the coronavirus were Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammed Abbas, Abid Ali, Naseem Shah, Rohail Nazir, Danish Aziz. All six members of the squad will be moved to the quarantine arm of a managed isolation facility. Pakistan is here for three T20 Internationals and two Tests. The series begins December 18 in Auckland.