Pakistan is a cricket ‘no-go zone’ for New Zealand

In this picture dated May 8, 2002, security officials examine the wreckage of a bus after a powerful bomb blast resulted in the death of 11 French engineers on board in front of the Sheraton hotel in Karachi. -AFP Photo

Former opener Mark Richardson, part of the New Zealand squad which abandoned their tour of Pakistan after a bomb blast in 2002, said Wednesday he felt sorry that the country has become a cricket no-go zone.

New Zealand flew back home at the start of the second and final Test in Karachi on May 8, 2002, after a blast close to their hotel killed 13 French naval staff.

“The over-riding memories are sad ones when the bomb went off in Karachi on the morning of the game,” Richardson, 43, told AFP.

“We had security concerns but we had started very comfortably. We had visited a fast food restaurant in Karachi and we were feeling very comfortable and then ‘kaboom’ and it was frightening and unfortunately we were on the plane back home later that day.

“It was a sad end,” remembered Richardson, who played 43 Tests and four one-day internationals.

“We felt for our hosts, it wasn’t like a daily occurence. They were as shocked and as freaked out as we were. You feel for Pakistan.”

Richardson remembered the destruction and the panic the bomb caused…