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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Natural disaster brings neighbours Aus, NZ closer

Natural disaster brings neighbours Aus, NZ closer

February 24, 2011 21:06 IST

It is going to be tough for New Zealand.

Playing their second World Cup (Group A) match in the VCA stadium in Jamtha on Friday that is.

And it has nothing to do with the fact that they are playing their neighbours and three-time defending champions Australia.

- World Cup coverage

In fact, it has more to do with heart.

With the death toll in the earthquake that hit the southern city of Christchurch going past 100, the minds of the players will probably be as much on the happenings back home as the match itself.

- Will the Kiwis get over its subcontinent jinx?

The earthquake that hit New Zealand's second largest city on Feb 22, measured a whopping 6.3 on the Richter scale.

And it has already had an impact on the team, considering the physio (Dayle Shackel) and the physio (Bryan Stronach) had to fly back home to attend to their affected families.

Captain Daniel Vettori admitted things aren't going to be easy.

"It is obviously been an incredibly tough build-up with what has been going on back home," he said, on the eve of the match.

The Black Caps captain added though the team had been devastated with the news regarding the quake and its aftermath -- the extent of the damage, they were trying to remained focused.

"I think the guys are trying as well as they could," explained Vettori, adding, "For a few of our guys coming out to train is a way of getting their minds off what is happening over there."

"However, It is a big game as far as the World Cup goes and it is also a Chappell-Hadlee contest, which is definitely something that matters for the people back home. So I think everyone would be looking forward to it."

Meanwhile, the Australian team empathized with the New Zealand team and had comforting words for their neighbours.  

"The Australian team has been extremely saddened with what happened in Christchurch," said Ricky Ponting.

The captain added that the team had spoken with their New Zealand counterparts on the issue.

"I had a chance to speak to some of the New Zealand players here in the hotel," said Ponting, adding, "I am close to a couple of guys in the New Zealand side and they told me that their immediate family and friends are all safe.

"We understand that their trainer and physio had to go back to New Zealand, but tomorrow as the Australian cricket team we need to show whatever respect we can and ensure some help to the people who have been affected by the incident.

"We are neighbours and we treat each other as brothers and we will make sure we can do something for them."

Considering the state of Queensland was affected by the worst ever floods recently, it definitely wasn't difficult for the Australian team to empathise with the devastation that has happened in Christchurch. 

Bikash Mohapatra Nagpur