Lucky escape for Oman national team cricketers after bomb blast near Kabul stadium

Zeeshan maqsood and Bilal Khan

Oman Cricket officials, family members and hundreds of friends heaved a sigh of relief and thanked God after two of national team cricketers had a lucky escape late on Wednesday afternoon after a suicide bomber had killed three persons including a policeman near a cricket stadium in Kabul, Afghanistan. 

The stadium is hosting the ongoing Shpageeza Cricket League, a T20 tournament organised by the Afghanistan Cricket Board, which features Oman-based national team cricketers - Zeeshan Maqsood and Bilal Khan. The T20 league features six teams and will conclude on September 22.

Both the Oman-based players are among the few international players participating in the fifth edition that comprises 15 league games after which two qualifiers and eliminator pave the way for the title clash.

Incidentally on Wednesday, Maqsood, playing for Kabul Eagles, had featured in the first match of the day against Amo Sharks at the very stadium.

Speaking to Muscat Daily from Kabul, Maqsood said, “We are all fine and safe. I thank all of my well-wishers for their concern.”

The suicide bomber blew himself when the second match of the day between Boost Defenders and Mis Ainak Knights was under way.

AFP news agency reported from Kabul that a suicide bomber blew himself up near a cricket stadium, killing three persons including a policeman and wounding five others. It said that the attacker detonated the bomb after he was stopped at a security checkpoint by suspicious policemen as he walked towards the Alokozay Kabul International Cricket Ground where a match was under way. “The security forces by sacrificing themselves have prevented the attacker from reaching the crowd (inside the stadium) and creating a catastrophe,” police spokesman Basir Mujahid told AFP.

Afghanistan Cricket Board spokesman Farid Hotak told AFP the match was briefly interrupted and ‘all players and cricket board officials are safe’.

Maqsood plays for defending domestic Premier Division League champion Assarain while Bilal Khan, who is playing for Speenghar Tigers in Afghanistan, represents Passage to India Restaurant team in domestic Premier Division.

Tigers is coached by Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa while West Indies’ Gus Logie is the coach of Kabul Eagles.

Duleep Mendis, the national team’s chief coach and Chief Development Officer of Oman Cricket told Muscat Daily , “I can only say with God’s blessings they are safe.”

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