Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Media review: Pakistan cricket damaged


Kamran Abbasi writes:

This is the end.

Today's attack on Sri Lanka's cricketers is a despicable act, a coward's agenda. Nobody should lose their life over a game of cricket, and no sportsman, official, or spectator should be injured in pursuit of the game they love...

Questions will inevitably be asked about the security arrangements, despite the regrettable deaths of several policemen. How could such a high profile tour have been allowed to have been ruined in this way? What do Pakistani security guarantees count for?

The least of the consequences of this disaster is that those who have advocated the continuation of international cricket in Pakistan - including me - have been proved wrong. No international team will now visit Pakistan, and the Pakistan Cricket Board should voluntarily arrange all future tours at neutral venues for the next year, may be longer.


Former captain Wasim Akram has said that after Tuesday's attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team in Lahore, Pakistan can now forget about co-hosting the 2011 World Cup.

"Hosting the 2011 World Cup alongside India is now a distant dream," he said.

"How do you expect a foreign teams to come to Pakistan now? We took pride in hosting our guests. This image has taken a beating. It's sad for Pakistan," Akram told Mobile ESPN over phone from Lahore.

The former skipper said the attacks were "unwarranted and have put Pakistan to shame".


Team India administrative manager Niranjan Shah said the terror attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore will certainly have an impact on the 2011 World Cup to be co-hosted by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"It will have some effect, there is no doubt about it," Shah said.

Asked if this vindicated India's decision not to tour Pakistan last month, Shah said: "It is all our government's policy. We go by the government's policy and that is our stand." Indian players, playing their first one-dayer against New Zealand here, wore black bands on their sleeves as a mark of respect for their Sri Lankan counterparts.


India's Home Minister P Chidambaram said the security of the players was "hopelessly inadequate".

"It is shocking," Chidambaram told reporters.

"It is quite obvious that security of the Sri Lankan players has been hopelessly inadequate. We condemn the shooting and we hope that players like Samaraweera and Mendis are safe and will recover," Chidambaram said.

"What has happened is very shocking indeed," said N Srinivasan, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

"We have been saying that there was a lack of security and safety in Pakistan. But this is not the time to give statements on that. At the moment our concerns are only for the Sri Lankan players," he added.

India had called off their tour of Pakistan in December in the wake of the deadly attacks in Mumbai, which India blamed on Pakistan-based terrorists.


Ben Smith writes:

The future of international cricket in Pakistan appears more uncertain than ever this morning, after Sri Lanka cancelled their tour of the country in the wake of the terror attacks in Lahore.

Masked gunmen opened fire on the Sri Lankan team as they travelled from their hotel to the Gaddafi stadium, killing eight people and injuring at least five cricketers. The squad has now been airlifted to safety.

The attacks have thrown Pakistan's co-hosting of the 2011 World Cup into doubt and Haroon Lorgat, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), has called for urgent talks to discuss the issue.

"In the next day or two we will have to make some serious decisions and we will," he said. "We can be thankful that there were not more fatalities. There obviously have been breaches and the security has not been good enough.


The former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson has said the attacks in which five Sri Lankan players were injured in Lahore this morning will put an end to any hopes of international cricket in the country in the foreseeable future.

"Cricket won't be played in Pakistan for the foreseeable future. Pakistan look like they will become a wandering cricket team now. They will be playing at neutral venues, because you can guarantee that there won't be games there. Obviously, there is no chance of the Champions Trophy or the World Cup going ahead there."

The former England opening batsman Chris Broad was caught up in the terror attack in Lahore today...

The former England bowler Dominic Cork, who was working as a commentator for Pakistan TV, told Sky Sports News that although Broad was unhurt he was left spattered with blood after the attack.

"He [Broad] said it was the most frightening experience of his life," said Cork. "Their driver was shot and they had to ask a policeman to drive them to the stadium."


Julian Linden writes:

Scenes of bloodshed on the streets of Lahore after gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus instantly ended any hopes Pakistan might have held of coaxing the cricketing world back to its grounds.

Repercussions from Tuesday's incident that left six players wounded and five policemen dead may also be felt through the entire region for years to come.

Security arrangements for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, to be hosted in neighbouring India, are certain to be re-examined and beefed up, while there will be renewed concerns about the merits of staging part of the 2011 Cricket World Cup in Pakistan.

Almost all of the world's top cricket nations have already refused to tour Pakistan because of fears about the safety of their players.


Lahore Chief City Police Officer Haji Habibur Rahman:

I believe the security plan was perfect. Police have sacrificed greatly. You should understand it yourself how the security plan was put in place. I am hopeful that both those [injured] players will, God willing, survive. One has been hit in the chest and the other in the leg, but the police have really sacrificed in this incident...

You see the first action was our encounter that took place. There was crossfire with the police for about 25 minutes. If the police had not been alert to their duty, the entire team would have been hit. But this has not happened. The police had very good arrangements in place. And I say I am proud of Lahore Police the way they have rendered sacrifices... There are buildings that we are searching, as we have some information about that. Besides that, we are chasing the suspects; because there is a report that the suspects attempted to snatch a car at Firdaus Market.

Translated by BBC Monitoring

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