New Zealand players shocked by Christchurch earthquake

New Zealand’s World Cup cricketers were left shocked by the news of the Christchurch earthquake Tuesday as they scrambled desperately for news of loved ones caught up in the devastation. “Thoughts go out to the people of Chch today. Terrible thing to have happened again,” New Zealand opener Martin Guptill (pictured in 2010) wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

Chennai: Feb 23, 2011

New Zealand’s World Cup cricketers were left shocked by the news of the Christchurch earthquake Tuesday as they scrambled desperately for news of loved ones caught up in the devastation.

At least 65 people died after a 6.3 magnitude quake hit New Zealand’s second city with the death toll likely to rise in a region still recovering from a 7.0 quake in September last year. “Everyone’s families are fine, but quite a numb and flat feeling in the squad,” veteran player Scott Styris wrote on Twitter. “Training was tough.”

Opening batsman Martin Guptill said the squad’s thoughts were with their compatriots. “Thoughts go out to the people of Chch today. Terrible thing to have happened again,” Guptill tweeted.

International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat said that an appropriate gesture of respect would be made when New Zealand face Australia in their next World Cup game in Nagpur on Friday.

“At times like this, sport can only offer its support and its deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones during such a tragedy,” said Lorgat. “It s a helpless feeling but I will be discussing with the organisers of the World Cup how we can most appropriately remember those who lost their lives or have been injured and affected when the Black Caps play their next match against Australia in Nagpur on Friday.”

“We have already contacted New Zealand Cricket s chief executive Dr Justin Vaughan to express our concern for him, his staff and the people of Christchurch. On behalf of everyone at the ICC and the World Cup we send our heartfelt condolences,” he said.

England off-spinner Graeme Swann shared the concern of his rivals. “Shocking news for Christchurch. Fingers crossed for everyone’s safety.”

New Zealand media manager Ellery Tappin said that families and friends of the 15-man squad, as well as the back-up team, were safe. “All immediate friends and family are OK, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that there have been fatalities,” Tappin told Cricinfo.

Among the New Zealand World Cup squad, fast bowler Hamish Bennett plies his trade for the Canterbury team in the devastated area while coach John Wright was born in the region. The news would have also rattled Netherlands captain Peter Borren who was born in Christchurch. The Dutch were playing England on Tuesday.

AFP