Pakistan team jolted and ‘sleepless’ amid tremors


KARACHI: Pakistan team manager Wasim Bari admitted 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

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 media 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.

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.”

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 the PCB 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.