Christchurch - The first Test between New Zealand and
Pakistan is set to go ahead in Christchurch this week, despite a massive
earthquake which killed at least two people and caused major infrastructure
A New Zealand cricket spokesperson confirmed on Monday that
the Test would begin at Hagley Oval on Thursday as planned after the venue and
teams' accommodation were checked and found to be safe.
The 7.8-magnitude quake, one of the most powerful ever
recorded in New Zealand, hit just after midnight 01:00 near the South Island
town of Kaikoura, about 180 kilometres north of Christchurch.
New Zealand pace bowler Matt Henry was asleep at home in
Christchurch when the quake struck.
"I was lying in bed and woke up to quite a long
rumble," he said.
"It was a bit scary. They're hard to get used to."
Henry said the cricket would be a welcome distraction to
help people take their minds off what had happened.
"It always brings a community together and for a brief
moment you can get back to a bit of normality, so it's probably a good timing
to have a Test match this week," said Henry.
The Pakistan touring squad felt the tremors in their hotel
in Nelson, about 200 kilometres from the quake's centre.
"Some of the boys were in prayer, some were watching
the India-England Test on TV when we felt the windows shake," team manager
Wasim Bari told ESPN Cricinfo.
"The whole room began to shake. We were on the sixth
and seventh floor, and evacuated immediately. We are all safe," added the
former Test wicketkeeper.
The Pakistan women's team, who are also touring New Zealand,
were on the 13th floor of a hotel in Christchurch when the tremors began.
Basit Ali, their manager, told Pakistan's Geo News they were
"It was so horrible and players were scared, we immediately
moved out of (the) hotel. Players were without slippers even," he was
reported as saying.
They are due to face the New Zealand women's team in the
fourth one-day international at Nelson's Saxton Oval on Thursday.