Snedden makes immediate decision to call off Pakistan tour

Lynn McConnell

May 8, 2002

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Snedden announces the abandonment of the New Zealand tour of Pakistan
Photograph © CricInfo

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Martin Snedden said an immediate decision was made to cancel the remainder of the New Zealand team's tour after a bomb blast outside the team hotel today.

The team will fly out of Pakistan this evening and be back in Auckland on Friday morning.

Speaking at a press conference at NZC headquarters in Christchurch at 4pm NZ time, two hours after the bomb blast, Snedden said he had been in touch with his team management in Karachi and their security advisor who is travelling with the team, as well as the head of Pakistan's Cricket Board Brigadier Rana.

Snedden said his main reason for making the decision was the safety of players and team management.

"It was not a difficult decision to make quickly.

"Team manager Jeff Crowe said the situation outside the team's hotel was a little bit bleak. The bomb went off across the road from the hotel.

"The players have been quite shocked at what happened," he said.

"The explosion occurred close to the time the team were due to depart for the National Stadium but, in line with the security plan, the team bus was situated in a secure carpark. Most of the team had yet to leave their rooms although the team physiotherapist, Dayle Shackel, received a minor cut to his forearm from flying glass."

Snedden said Brigadier Rana entirely understood his reasoning behind the abandonment of the tour.

"He was very supportive of the decision and didn't attempt to persuade me otherwise," Snedden said.

He added that the security provisions that had been put in place for the tour by both the Pakistani Government and the Cricket Board were very much appreciated by NZC and Snedden said the decision to send their own security agent on the tour had also been worthwhile.

He had also informed the International Cricket Council of his decision to abandon the tour but due to time differences had not received any response.

Snedden said in reaction to a question about financial implications resulting from the abandonment that his first inclination was that there wouldn't be any comeback on New Zealand, and his second view was that he didn't care if there were.

"The safety of our team was far more important," he said.

Snedden was sympathetic to his players' desire to return home as he was in the New Zealand team which returned home after a bomb blast after the first Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 1987.

"It wasn't near where we were staying but we heard the bomb go off, and I can only imagine it would have been a huge shock to players today.

"The players would have been in no mental or physical state to carry on the tour, or to play a Test. The Pakistan team was probably in the same position," he said.

The second Test of the two-match series was due to start at 4pm NZ time today.

The second occasion New Zealand teams have had a tour interrupted by a bomb blast was in 1993, again in Sri Lanka when a suicide bomber assassinated a high-ranking officer in the Sri Lankan navy outside the team's hotel.

Several members of the New Zealand touring party returned home after that event: coach Warren Lees, and players, Mark Greatbatch, Gavin Larsen, Dipak Patel, Rod Latham and Willie Watson.

Replacement players were flown out from New Zealand to continue a shortened tour.

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