West Indies pacer Rayad Emrit was among those who escaped unhurt from the resulting blast of an explosive device that was detonated by a suicide bomber during a T20 league match in Afghanistan.
The match, which was being held at the Alokozay Kabul International Cricket Ground in Kabul, was between the MIS Ainak Knights and Boost Defenders – for whom Emrit is signed.
Although the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) was not certain about what caused the blast, local media in Kabul reported a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a security checkpoint en route to the venue.
Local media also reported that the blast had killed at least two people, but the board’s CEO Shafiqullah Stanikzai confirmed that all the players, coaching staff and match officials were safe.
“For this tournament, a special decree has been issued by His Excellency, the president of the country, to look after the security,” he explained. “We heard a sound, but we were not sure exactly what happened. The match was stopped for short time but resumed once the security heads told us we can carry on. The president’s special advisor was also present at the ground to assure the security. They told us there is no threat to the players.”
The blast occurred during the fourth over of Knights’ chase of 202. South Africa batsman Cameron Delport had earlier blasted a 42-ball century earlier to power Defenders to 201 for 6, which was seven runs too many for Knights.
Apart from Emrit and Delport, the other overseas players at the ground at the time of the blast were Morne van Wyk (South Africa) for the Defenders, while the Zimbabwean trio of Vusi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl were representing Knights.
Adam Hollioake, the former England captain, is the Defenders coach while Andy Moles is coaching Knights.
The league, which is Afghanistan’s domestic T20 tournament, comprises six teams and features about two dozen overseas players from South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Oman.
Denesh Ramdin, the other West Indian playing in the league has signed with the Band-e-Amir Dragons who will be in action against Speen Ghar Tigers on Thursday.