November 28, 2008

England in India 2008-09

Kabir Ali escaped Taj terror strikes

Nishi Narayanan
The Taj hotel on fire after terrorist attacks on Wednesday night, Mumbai, November 27, 2008
 © AFP
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Kabir Ali, the England fast bowler, was lucky to escape the terrorist strikes in Mumbai on Wednesday night after he chose to skip dinner at the Taj Mahal hotel, one of the venues attacked, to for a movie.

“We were having coffee there [Taj Mahal hotel] in the afternoon and were due back for dinner later,” Kabir told the Times. “I should have been there by 9 o'clock, about half an hour before the shooting started. I don't really know why I changed my mind. For some reason, something told me not to go and I went to the cinema instead. I should have been at the hotel. “I started watching the film, but it soon became obvious something was wrong. It was a really good Bollywood film but people kept leaving. Then I received a text message telling me what was happening and I joined those trying to get out.

“There was panic outside. At first I thought there were fireworks going off in the next street, but then it hit home. There were sirens and bangs and people running. It was chaos. I just want to get home now. I do feel shaken, but my thoughts are with all the people who were just going about their lives normally who haven't been as lucky as me.”

Pakistan internationals Kamran Akmal and Sohail Tanvir were also in Mumbai during the attacks - at the suburban Taj Land's End. But they were nowhere near the areas where the violence erupted and stayed in their hotel after hearing the news.

“I wasn’t sure what was happening when I heard about the attacks," Tanvir told Daily News & Analysis, a Mumbai daily. "Both me and Kamran have not stepped out of our rooms and have been following the news." The two players are now waiting for the Pakistan board to facilitate their return home. “It would be good to head back," Tanvir said. "It was expected that after attacks of such enormity the Champions League and England tour would be put on hold or cancelled. I have been in touch with PCB officials and they are making plans to get us back to Pakistan."

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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