Some prominent voices in the New Zealand community are calling for Pakistan cricketers to be punished for breaching the SOPs in place due to the COVID-19.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) confirmed on Thursday that six members of the Pakistan team, currently in managed isolation in Christchurch, have tested positive for Covid-19.
New Zealand broadcaster, Chris Lynch, in his column for New Zealand Herald, was critical of the Pakistan team for breaking the strict isolation rules at a Christchurch hotel and said ‘Pakistan cricketers should be punished’.
“It is a privilege, not a right to be granted access to New Zealand. There are plenty of Kiwis unable to return home because managed isolation facilities are fully booked. Pakistan shouldn’t be granted any special exemptions in the first place, either they’re in managed isolation or they’re not,” Lynch wrote.
“I feel grateful to live in a country where Covid-19 has not taken a foothold. If others are unclear about their responsibilities, the threat of a plane ticket home should help ease any confusion,” he added.
D’Arcy Waldegrave, a radio broadcaster in New Zealand, termed the Pakistan team ‘astonishingly arrogant’ and wants the New Zealand government to set an example out of the Men in Green.
“Let’s make example of anyone playing fast and loose with our border generosity,” Waldegrave said.
Nick Wilson, a professor from the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, said the issue with the Pakistan team indicates that New Zealand’s border control system was not effective.
“We really need a major re-look at the system,” Wilson told Radio New Zealand on Friday.
“What we probably need is a traffic light system, so that things are much more stringent for people coming from high-risk red zone countries like Pakistan, the US, and the UK.”
In Reply, Former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar, lashed out at New Zealand Cricket (NZC) for their comments to send the Men in Green home.
“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,” Akhtar said.
“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. 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,” he added.