Lucky es­cape for na­tional team crick­eters af­ter bomb blast near Kabul sta­dium

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE - Ashok Puro­hit

Oman Cricket of­fi­cials, fam­ily mem­bers and hundreds of friends heaved a sigh of relief and thanked God af­ter news came in late in af­ter­noon that a sui­cide bomber had killed three per­sons in­clud­ing a po­lice­man near a cricket sta­dium in Kabul on Wed­nes­day.

Oman-based na­tional team crick­eters Zee­shan Maq­sood and Bi­lal Khan are part of the on­go­ing Sh­pageeza Cricket League, a T20 tour­na­ment, or­gan­ised by the Afghanistan

Cricket Board, which be­gan on Mon­day. The T20 league fea­tures six teams and will con­clude on Septem­ber 22.

Both the Oman-based play­ers

are among the few in­ter­na­tional play­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the fifth edi­tion that com­prises 15 league games af­ter which two qualifiers and elim­i­na­tor pave the way for the ti­tle clash.

In­ci­den­tally on Wed­nes­day, Maq­sood, play­ing for Kabul Ea­gles, had fea­tured in the first match of the day against Amo Sharks at the very sta­dium. Speak­ing to Mus­cat Daily from Kabul, Maq­sood said, “We are all fine and safe. I thank all of my well-wish­ers for their con­cern.”

The sui­cide bomber blew him­self when the sec­ond match of the day be­tween Boost De­fend­ers and Mis Ai­nak Knights was un­der way.

AFP news agency re­ported from Kabul that a sui­cide bomber blew him­self up near a cricket sta­dium, killing three per­sons in­clud­ing a po­lice­man and wound­ing five oth­ers. It said that the at­tacker det­o­nated the bomb af­ter he was stopped at a se­cu­rity check­point by sus­pi­cious po­lice­men as he walked to­wards the Alokozay Kabul In­ter­na­tional Cricket Ground where a match was un­der way.

“The se­cu­rity forces by sac­ri­fic­ing them­selves have pre­vented the at­tacker from reach­ing the crowd (in­side the sta­dium) and cre­at­ing a catas­tro­phe,” po­lice spokesman Basir Mu­jahid told AFP.

Afghanistan Cricket Board spokesman Farid Ho­tak told AFP the match was briefly in­ter­rupted and ‘all play­ers and cricket board of­fi­cials are safe’.

Maq­sood plays for de­fend­ing do­mes­tic Premier Di­vi­sion League cham­pion As­sarain while Bi­lal Khan, who is play­ing for Speeng­har Tigers in Afghanistan, rep­re­sents Pas­sage to In­dia Restau­rant team in do­mes­tic Premier Di­vi­sion.

Tigers is coached by Her­schelle Gibbs of South Africa while West Indies’ Gus Logie is the coach of Kabul Ea­gles.

Duleep Mendis, the na­tional team’s chief coach and Chief De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer of Oman Cricket told Mus­cat Daily, “I can only say with God’s bless­ings they are safe.”

Zee­shan Maq­sood and Bi­lal Khan

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