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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 04:25 GMT 05:25 UK
Kiwis cancel cricket tour
Chris Harris, Craig McMillan and Stephen Fleming in Karachi
New Zealand's players have decided to head home
New Zealand have cancelled the rest of their cricket tour of Pakistan following a suicide bomb attack outside the teams' hotel in Karachi.

  Should Pakistan play away? Have your say

The blast occurred just three hours before the second Test was due to get under way on Wednesday.

Eleven people, including nine French workers, travelling on a bus on the road outside the hotel, were killed in the explosion.

New Zealand broadcaster Bryan Waddle was in the same hotel as both teams.

"I felt the windows in my hotel room shudder," he said.

"There was a loud boom and the windows blew out. There was flying glass everywhere."

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief Martin Snedden said the safety of his players was paramount and that the Pakistan Cricket Board accepted the decision to withdraw.

Our main priority now is to get the players home safely to their families
Martin Snedden,
NZC chief executive
Speaking from NZC headquarters in Christchurch, Snedden said he had spoken with team manager Jeff Crowe and team coach Denis Aberhart within an hour of the explosion.

"The damage to the Pearl Intercontinental Hotel is confined to the front of the hotel where the windows were shattered," said Snedden.

  Players speak of near miss

"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 car park.

"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.

"The team management has indicated that the team would like to leave Pakistan and New Zealand Cricket has made arrangements for their departure this evening.

  Windows blew out of rooms

"I have spoken to Brigadier Rana of the Pakistan Cricket Board and conveyed our decision to him. Our main priority now is to get the players home safely to their families."

The tour had already been rescheduled following security concerns after the 11 September terrorist attacks.

It is the third time that a New Zealand cricket tour has ended prematurely because of a bomb blast.

New Zealand returned home after an explosion following the first Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 1987.

And the the 1993 tour of the same country was cut short when a suicide bomber assassinated a high-ranking officer in the Sri Lankan navy outside the team's hotel.

Shahid Hashmi reports for BBC Sport
"The destruction can be seen all around"
NZC chief executive Martin Snedden
"The safety of the players is paramount"
ICC president Malcolm Gray
"It's a blow for cricket"

New Zealand broadcaster Bryan Waddle reports for BBC Sport OnlineKarachi blast
NZ broadcaster Bryan Waddle reports
See also:

08 May 02 |  South Asia
Bus blast in Karachi
08 May 02 |  Cricket
Players shocked by Karachi blast
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