Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Zealand eye Aussie win to lift spirits.

New Zealand cricket captain Daniel Vettori believes a World Cup win over trans-Tasman rivals Australia will help lift national spirits left shattered by the deadly Christchurch earthquake.

The 15-man squad desperately scrambled for news on loved ones caught up in Tuesday's 6.3 magnitude quake which killed at least 65 people, with the team admitting to being left shocked and numbed by the tragedy.

"The greatest thing we can do is beat Australia to hopefully help bring a little relief for the people who are going such a rough time at home," said Vettori.

"It's been a tough day. Five or six of the team and the management crew are based in Christchurch, so it's been a rough time for them finding out that their families are safe."

"We all have family or friends in Christchurch, it's been tough. We are feeling it too and the Canterbury community is in our thoughts and prayers."

"It's hard to deal with out of context. Guys will be thinking about wives and children at home who are dealing with the aftermath. It might be a distraction, it will be a testing time."

New Zealand's players, who face defending champions Australia in Nagpur on Friday, regularly used Twitter throughout the day in search of information and to offer condolences.

"Everyone's families are fine, but quite a numb and flat feeling in the squad," veteran player Scott Styris wrote. "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.

"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."
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.

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