Terror attack near stadium halts match; Babar, Afridi taken to safety | Crickit
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Terror attack near Quetta stadium halts match; Babar Azam, Shahid Afridi taken to safety

Feb 05, 2023 09:43 PM IST

The Pakistan Cricket Board had organised the exhibition match between Pakistan Super League (PSL) sides Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi after pressure from Baloch fans that Quetta also get the status of a PSL venue.

Pakistan cricket stars, including captain Babar Azam and former skipper Shahid Afridi were among those taken to safety to the dressing room during an exhibition match at the Nawab Akbar Bugti Stadium. According to PTI, the game was halted for some time following an explosion in the Police Lines area in Quetta, which left five people injured.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had organised the exhibition match between Pakistan Super League (PSL) sides Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi(Twitter/Getty Images)
The Pakistan Cricket Board had organised the exhibition match between Pakistan Super League (PSL) sides Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi(Twitter/Getty Images)

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Watch: Pak cricketers Babar Azam, Afridi rushed to safety after Quetta blast

A senior police officer said that rescue work had been completed at the site and the injured had been taken to hospital. The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on Sunday. It stated that the security officials were targeted in the blast.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had organised the exhibition match between Pakistan Super League (PSL) sides Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi after pressure from Baloch fans that Quetta also get the status of a PSL venue. Babar Azam leads Zalmi while the Gladiatiors are led by former Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed.

"As soon as the explosion happened, as a precautionary measure, the match was stopped and players taken to the dressing room for a while. Later, after the green signal, the match resumed," the police official said, according to PTI. The PCB had earlier made the call to include the Bugti Stadium in Quetta as one of the venues for the PSL. It was hence set to be the first time that the stadium would host a high profile cricket match since 1996, when it was the stage for an ODI match between Pakistan and Zimbabwe. The game remains the only international cricket match to have been played at the stadium.

The ground was packed for the match. Sports activity in Quetta, the capital of the restive Balochistan province, has come to a standstill for the last several years due to fragile security situation and the constant threat of terror attacks. It is not clear what was the nature of the explosion. The TTP has stepped up terror attacks in recent days. Last week, 80 people were killed and scores injured in a suicide attack in the police lines in Peshawar.

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