World Cup pauses to remember Christchurch earthquake victims

New Zealand cricket team observes a minutes silence for the victims of the Christchurch earthquake.

Nagpur: Feb 25, 2011

In a sparsely populated ground, thousands of miles from the disaster, cricket fans paused to remember the victims of the Christchurch earthquake at the VCA Stadium.

There were barely a couple of hundred people inside the VCA Ground for the start of the match between trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand on Friday as the ticket chaos that has plagued the start of this tournament prevented queuing fans from being inside the stadium to pay their respects.At least 113 people have been killed as a result of devastating tremors in the New Zealand city.

“We are neighbours and we treat each other as brothers and we’ll make sure we do that,” Ricky Ponting had said and the Australian captain was as good as his word, with the side’s support staff as well as the players taking the field for the pre-match ceremonies.

After a minute’s silence, and with players from both sides wearing black armbands, the New Zealand anthem was played with the team, led by captain Daniel Vettori, linking arms.

Vettori had previously summed up the mood of the squad by saying: “It has been difficult but I suppose when we put it into perspective, it’s nothing compared to what the people back home in Christchurch and all over New Zealand are going through.

“The whole country is hurting immensely and the team feels exactly the same way,” he added.

As television cameras panned round the ground they found a small knot of Kiwi fans with one spectator holding aloft a simple message written out on a plain white piece of paper that said: “Thinking of you Christchurch.”