'Terrified' after Kabul stadium blast, Abdul Razzaq quits Afghan cricket league

Published: September 15, 2017
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Abdur Razzaq. PHOTO: AFP

Abdur Razzaq. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Former Pakistan Test cricketer Abdul Razzaq has quit the Shpageeza Cricket League in Kabul and is returning to Pakistan following a suicide blast near a cricket stadium there on Wednesday that killed three people.

The blast occurred when there was a match under way between the Boost Defenders and MIS Ainak Knights.

Three killed in suicide blast near Kabul cricket stadium

Razzaq, the only Pakistani player in the tournament playing for the team Amo Sharks, told Express News on the phone that he was at his hotel at the time of the blast. The hotel is just five minutes’ drive away from the stadium.

“I was watching the other match on TV when I heard the loud blast. All the players were terrified,” he said.

“I had immediately decided to return but the organisers [of the tournament] convinced me to play one more match,” he added.

“I played a match on Thursday wherein I made 30 runs but did not bowl. I will return to Pakistan in a day or two.”

The former Pakistan Test cricketer said immediately after the blast, many players from England, South Africa and Zimbabwe participating in the tournament held a meeting decided to leave Kabul.

The attacker detonated the bomb after he was stopped at a security checkpoint as he walked towards the stadium. Five other people were also injured in the explosion.

Taliban deputy leader insists no hand in Kabul attacks

The league, Afghanistan’s domestic Twenty20 tournament, comprises six teams and features about two dozen overseas players from South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Oman. The Defenders-Knights match was the second game of the day, following the Amo Sharks-Kabul Eagles contest.

According to Shafiqullah Stanikzai, ACB’s chief executive officer, the blast occurred during the fourth over of Knights’ chase of 202, ESPNCricinfo reported. South Africa batsman Cameron Delport had scored a 42-ball century earlier to power Defenders to 201 for 6, which was seven runs too many for Knights.

Apart from Delport, the other overseas players at the ground at the time of the blast were Morne van Wyk (South Africa) and Rayad Emrit (West Indies) for Defenders, while the Zimbabwean trio of Vusi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl were representing Knights. Adam Hollioake, the former England captain, is the Defenders coach while Andy Moles is coaching Knights.

The match was stopped briefly, but once the Afghanistan government-appointed security gave the clearance, it resumed.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Farhan
    Sep 15, 2017 - 5:10PM

    I feel sorry for Afghan organizers. I hope Razzak and other players will try to understand the pain of Afghans who would be discourage by their leaving the series. While their lives are certainly under threat, their leaving will only embolden terrorists in Afghanistan.Recommend

  • azmat
    Sep 15, 2017 - 9:23PM

    @Farhan:
    I agree with you but I was utterly disappointed when Afghan team turned down to play international series in Pakistan on security ground( read political point scoring).Why would Razaaq or anybody risk their lives? They would realize the pain of pak cricket fans now Recommend

  • FAZ
    Sep 16, 2017 - 7:54PM

    @azmat:
    The question is why on Earth the PCB gave clearance to Razzaq to play in Afghanistan?Recommend

  • Iqbal
    Sep 18, 2017 - 2:43AM

    But it is not safe to play in Pakistan either!Recommend

  • Live Cricket 24
    Dec 7, 2017 - 11:50PM

    Former Pakistan Test cricketer Abdul Razzaq is my favorite player. Allah bless him.Thanks for nice report.-http://livecricket24.comRecommend

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