KARACHI: Pakistan team manager Wasim Bari admitted on Monday that players were facing an unprecedented challenge to focus on the two-match Test series against New Zealand as aftershocks continue to haunt the visitors in Christchurch.
Pakistan travelled from Nelson to Christchurch where they are scheduled to play the first Test against the Black Caps from November 17.
At least two people died after a powerful earthquake hit New Zealand, causing damage to buildings and leading residents to evacuate their homes.
Relieved to know that Pakistan cricket team is unaffected by earthquake in NZ. Praying for their well being and that of New Zealanders.— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) November 14, 2016
Pakistan were in Nelson when the tremor struck first and the players were escorted out from the seventh floor of the hotel to safety.
However, things haven’t returned to normalcy as aftershocks continue. “We are facing a situation we have never faced before on a tour. It is a terrifying experience,” Bari, a former Pakistan captain, told The Express Tribune from Christchurch. “Under the current situation, it is impossible for the players to focus on cricket. The players didn’t sleep and remained at the hotel’s reception area the entire night.”
They are not out of the woods yet either. “The aftershocks are continuing and players are unlikely to get rest any time soon,” said Bari informing the team was staying on the sixth floor of a Christchurch hotel. “All individuals act in a different manner and most of them are terrified.”
Well done Pakistan team and @TheRealPCB to confirm participation in Christchurch Test despite earthquake n tsunami threats. Bravo.— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) November 14, 2016
New Zealand Cricket has said the series will go on as planned and the Pakistan manager revealed the team is willing to play despite being in a spot of bother.
“We have a practice session and the players will try to regain their focus. Let’s see how the conditions at the venue are,” said the manager.
“We did not get match practice before the series as the warm-up match in Nelson was washed out,” he added. “The players had to make do with indoor practice sessions several times and going into the Test without much preparation itself is a challenge for them.”
Sending love to New Zealand. Hope everyone is safe and secure. InshAllah this will be the last ever earth quake for beautiful NZ #NZQuake— Shaniera Akram (@iamShaniera) November 13, 2016
‘It was a scary experience’
A Pakistan team player said the jolts were a scary experience. “I was in my room when the earthquake hit,” the player said on condition of anonymity. “We were escorted out safely by the hotel management. It was a very scary experience but we hope to regain focus for the Tests.”
PCB inquires about safety of teams
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) management inquired about the safety of the touring men and women’s teams in New Zealand.
“Both teams management told PCB COO Subhan Ahmad about the safety and overall playing conditions in New Zealand in the wake of an earthquake. They said the players and management are safe,” said a PCB statement yesterday.
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