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Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Lahore attack 'to change cricket'

By Ethirajan Anbarasan
BBC News, Colombo

Kumar Sangakkara
Sangakkara says it is a miracle no player was killed

The new Sri Lankan cricket captain says the attack on the team in Pakistan has changed the players' approach to participating in future tournaments.

Kumar Sangakkara told the BBC that the players would first assess security arrangements and talk to their families before committing to any tournament.

Gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus on its way to Lahore's Gaddafi stadium for a Test match on 3 March.

Five policemen and a driver died. Seven Sri Lankan players were injured.

A British assistant coach was also hurt.

'Do I feel safe?'

Kumar Sangakkara says it is a miracle that none of his team members were killed in the attack.

Of the seven who were injured, his team mate Thilan Samaraweera had a bullet lodged in his left leg while others, including Sangakkara, received shrapnel injuries.

Grab of gunmen in Lahore
The shooting began near the Gaddafi stadium

Sangakkara says the incident has changed the security aspect of sport for ever.

The stylish left-hander says from now on it is likely that players - rather than national cricket boards- will make the decision to go on tours.

"There will be a more individual approach to comfort levels when it comes to security. I think [for] international cricket tours, we will have players sitting down with their families and discussing.

"Do I feel safe going here, do I feel safe going to this tournament? Is this the best decision for me and my family? A lot more decisions will be made on that individual basis," he said.

On the Indian Premier League tournament being held outside India, Sangakkara says that although the games may still appeal, the atmosphere will not be the same as in India or in Asia.

"The same atmosphere, the same, you know, the music, the shouting, the chanting, you know the sea of people you see. You see 100,000 people inside the ground in Calcutta and another 75,000 trying to force their way in - you won't find that.

"May be it will lose something, I think it will. I think that might be a way to shift it back to India in the season after."

On touring Pakistan in the future, Sangakkara said that even though they would like to play there again, his players would only feel comfortable travelling there if all security measures were put in place.



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