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NZ, India show respect for shooting victims

cricket Updated: Mar 03, 2009 14:07 IST

AP
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New Zealand and Indian cricketers donned black armbands during their limited-overs international on Tuesday as a mark of respect for the victims of an attack on the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan.

The Indian and New Zealand teams had already begun the match in Napier when news of the shootings in the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore was conveyed to players. Many of the Indian players were contacted by phone or via text messages to inform of them of the incident.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan said the New Zealand and India teams had immediately decided to wear black armbands as a mark of respect to those who died in the attack. "I think we are shocked as everyone is tonight," Vaughan said. "I think because it is the first time a cricket team has been the target of terrorist activity there is a whole new scale of shock. It is terrible and our thoughts go out to those involved. We are dismayed that this has occured and we have sent our best wishes directly to Sri Lanka and Pakistan."

Vaughan said New Zealand Cricket had already been in discussion with India over their team's security while in New Zealand. "We are so dismayed at what has happened, as were the Indian New Zealand players," he said. "There was a decision made by India and New Zealand that they wished to wear black arm bands in a note of respect."

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key strongly condemned the attack.

"I condemn this despicable terrorist act. I am sure all New Zealanders will be outraged, as I am, at hearing this news," he said in a statement.

"I am very concerned at this turn of events, where an international sports team has been targeted by terrorists." New Zealand is due to tour Pakistan later this year but Vaughan said it was too soon to consider how the attack would affect that series.

"The tour is scheduled for November, and that's eight months away," he said. "We would be doing a security review prior to any commitment to the tour and that would normally take place around June or July.

"You'd have to say this would throw further doubt over that tour, but we don't make those sort of decisions off the cuff like that. This is really serious."