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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

when it rained bullets on Sri Lankan Cricket Team at Lahore.

Dear (s)

It could turn out to be a very dark day for Cricket and International Sports.  (this is what I circulated to my group of friends through e-mail  in the morning of 3rd March 2009)….. here is the same reproduced here :

The cricketers of Lanka have had a great time on the field thus far in their tour of the troubled Pakistan.  Yesterday at Gadaffi stadium, Thilan Samaraweera notched  up his second successive Test double century following his 231 in the First Test at Karachi.  Thilan became the  sixth batsman after Walter Hammond, Don Bradman, Vinod Kambli, Kumar Sangakkara and Graeme Smith to score successive double centuries in Test matches. 

But today is a rank bad day.  Going by the Flash Reports, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricket team as they were on their way to Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on Tuesday morning, Dawn news channel reported. The channel showed footage of two gunmen opening fire using Kalashnikovs.  Four policemen are reported dead, three more are seriously injured and have been rushed to the hospital. The attackers exploded two bombs and men started firing at a police van which was providing security to the Lankan team.  The gunmen, reportedly surrounded the team van and opened fire indiscriminately. The gunmen reportedly  fired continuously for two to three minutes.

Seven players have been reported injured  (Samaraweera has been identified as one ) -  two of them are reported to be seriously injured.This certainly is not CRICKET;  could jeopardize the relations between the Countries and could have deep impact on cricket tours to Asia which are fast perceived as terrorism torn countries.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

It did sound the  a death-knell for Cricket tours to Pakisthan.  Gaddafi stadium is in Lahore, designed in 1959.  The ground was renovated for the 1996 Cricket World Cup when it hosted the final. It is also the largest cricket stadium in Pakistan with a capacity of 62,250 spectators.
Later news reports revealed that 12 gunmen were hiding near Liberty Square, in the centre of Lahore, waiting for the Sri Lankan team to pass on their way to the Gaddafi stadium. When the bus crossed the road they started firing, targeting the bus. The Pakistan police escorting the team returned fire; in the ensuing fighting, six policemen and two civilians died.  The gunmen had first targeted the wheels of the bus, and then had fired at the bus and its occupants.  The attackers had fired a rocket at the bus, which missed and hit a nearby electric pole. The driver of the bus,  kept on driving a distance of about 500 metres (1,600 ft) until they reached the stadium. Khalil was hailed as a hero for his bravery.  A minivan following the team bus carrying the match referee and umpires was also fired upon and the driver was killed.  

The Sri Lankan team were then taken to the stadium and airlifted from the pitch via Pakistan Air Force Mil Mi-17 helicopters,  and immediate arrangements were made for the Sri Lankan team to return to Colombo on the next available flight.  The second Test, which was the last scheduled fixture of the tour, was abandoned as a draw.

The safety of touring cricket teams in Pakistan had long been in issue. In May 2002, New Zealand abandoned their Test series in Pakistan after a suicide bomb attack outside their hotel.  In fact, the Sri Lankan cricket team was in Pakistan as a replacement for the Indian team, who had pulled out after the Mumbai attacks and Pak had offered to arrange "presidential-style security. Pakistan have had to play their “home” matches in venues ranging from Dubai to London ever since that shooting.

That terror attacks on the Sri Lankan cricketers made cricket insurance more expensive in the Indian subcontinent. Risk perception for the entire Indian sub-continent — India, Bangladesh, Pakistan andSri Lanka — nosedived with the threat of terrorism.  

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