Zeeshan Abassi was apparently served contaminated water for breakfast at a hotel in Bangalore.
The captain of the Pakistan cricket team for the blind, Zeeshan Abbasi was admitted to Bangalore’s M S. Ramiah hospital early in Saturday morning after he was apparently served contaminated water at breakfast. While the Pakistan team management said the water was contaminated with ‘cleaning acid’, the hotel management claimed it was diluted soap solution. Mr Abassi’s condition is now stable though he will remain under observation in the hospital for a few more hours.
Mr Abbasi and the Pakistan team are staying at the Movenpick Hotel in Yelahanka for the duration of the T20 World Cup for the Blind, which began on Dec. 2. He consumed the contaminated water but immediately spat out the liquid when he realised that it was not water.
Due to play against Bangladesh in a league match on Saturday, he proceeded to the match venue with the rest of the team. However, he complained of soreness in the throat and the team management rushed him to the M S Ramiah hospital. M S Ramiah Hospital are the health partners for the tournament and hospital ambulances are stationed at all venues of the international tournament.
Mr Abassi later was presented before the media at the hospital by the team management. Though he did not speak, he indicated that he was now stable.
G.K. Mahantesh General, Secretary of the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) and founder of the Samarthanam Turst for the Disabled, who are organizing the 10-day tournament, termed the incident as “shocking and embarrassing”. He said: “All players are important to us. The Movenpick Hotel have promised an internal inquiry and we await the results.” Mr Mahantesh added the “strictest of actions” will be taken against those responsible for the incident.
Speaking to the media, Pakistan team manager Bilal Satti said, “We arrived at 7 am for breakfast in the hotel – these water bottles were the brand we have been using through our visit. It appears that there was some cleaning acid in the bottle. It so happened that the captain drank the water – it could have been any of the players who consumed the contaminated the water.”
Doctors at the hospital said Mr Abassi complained of soreness in the throat and was rushed to the emergency and an endoscopy was done. The results of the endoscopy were normal but Mr Abassi will also be examined by an ENT specialist and kept for observation. According to hospital sources there is as yet no confirmation of the exact substance Mr Abassi consumed.
Incident comes a day after the Pakistan team comprehensively beat the Indians by 8 wickets in a league match at the Aditya Global Sports ground in Neelamangala. Asked about the possibility of Mr Abassi having been targeted, Mr Mahantesh said “I don’t think so. In India we appreciate victory irrespective of who wins. It was good match yesterday – both teams played well and everybody enjoyed themselves.”
Mr Satti also refused to comment on the possibility of vendetta merely saying he had not heard from the Pakistan High Commissioner yet and added that he expected details on what exactly happened soon.
At a press conference Ms Neha Gairola, Senior Food and Beverage Manager of the Movenpick hotel said Mr Abassi had consumed ‘diluted soap solution’ which had ‘ínadvertantly’ been left on the table by the cleaning staff. She said the services of the person responsible had been terminated.