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Sunday, 12 May, 2002, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Shocked from safety
A Pakistani soldier watches NZ fans at the Karachi bomb site
The blast brought a feeling of total vulnerability
test hello test
By Mark Richardson
New Zealand opening batsman

Following the first Test one reporter said that if we weren't shell-shocked from the heat we definitely would be shell-shocked by the pace of Shoaib Akhtar.

Little did he know that a day later we would be shell-shocked for real.

I was having a post-breakfast sit-down on the toilet, a place I am quite familiar with on the morning of a Test and a place where I like to do some thinking about the coming challenge.

Playing Pakistan, in Pakistan is one of cricket's great challenges.
Then all of a sudden I found myself lying on the floor, covering my head and with my pants round my ankles.

Whether it was the force of the blast or just a natural inclination to head for cover I'm not sure.

The force of the blast had completely destroyed my room. The front window and ranch slider were shattered and strewn around the room, furniture was broken and my room door was blown off its hinges.

I am very glad none of us were near our windows when the bomb went off.

Once clear of the building and everyone having been accounted for it quickly became an eerie feeling.

Up until then, even with the constant armed security day and night, we had felt quite safe.

We had even begun to make daily trips to the shopping mall and had a feeling that we pretty much had Pakistan wired.

However the bomb blast brought it quickly home to roost that this was not "the west".

What could we expect next? Was the bomb directed at us? It was a feeling of total vulnerability and one I am not keen to experience again ever.

Missed challenge

After an occurrence like that there is no way a cricket Test can be played.

For me it was not so much for safety fears for myself but rather the thoughts for family back home.

You know that they are going to be as worried as hell about you and also in a helpless situation.

Abdur Razzaq and Danish Kaneria in training
Pakistan's players don't deserve to be deserted
Sending a message home to my Mum saying that I was okay was the first time my voice got a little shaky.

It is a real shame. Playing Pakistan, in Pakistan, with Shoaib Akhtar charging in is one of cricket's great challenges.

Test cricket is all about challenge and to make the grade you must be someone who relishes a challenge.

This challenge has been taken from us, and maybe the rest of the cricketing world for quite some time, by an evil and self-absorbed act of madness.

Looking at the faces of the Pakistan cricketers sharing the pool enclosure with us following the blast I really feel for them.

They are great players, and could have hoped to topple Test champions Australia when Steve Waugh's guys were supposed to tour in October.

They are good fellas and don't deserve for their country to be ostracised as a cricket destination.

See also:

10 May 02 |  Cricket
Fleming haunted by bomb blast
10 May 02 |  Cricket
Australia consider neutral plan
08 May 02 |  Cricket
ICC in turmoil after bomb
08 May 02 |  Cricket
Players shocked by Karachi blast
08 May 02 |  Cricket
Kiwis cancel cricket tour
08 May 02 |  South Asia
Bus blast in Karachi
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