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Pakistan cricket future in doubt: ICC
Lahore, Mar 3 (Agencies):
Published on 3 Mar. 2009 10:38 PM IST
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The future of international cricket in Pakistan is in doubt following Tuesday’s terror attack, the International Cricket Council has said. ICC taking serious view of the current scenario of the Lahore terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team may remove Pakistan as one of the 2011 World Cup organisers. A final decision will, however, be taken at an emergency meeting of the executive board in Dubai this weekend. Seven Sri Lanka players were injured in Lahore on their team bus, while six policemen escorting it were killed. ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: “Perhaps for some time Pakistan should consider playing at neutral venues. Rather play some cricket than none. “I’m not sure any team would be ready to play cricket in Pakistan.” The country is nominally one of the co-hosts of the World Cup in 2011, but although Lorgat believes staging matches there is not viable in the near future, no decision has yet been taken regarding 2011. He added: “The World Cup is due to be shared between four counties. “That is the current plan and the board will have to think carefully about the extent to which Pakistan will be used in that event. “We need to be careful of a knee-jerk reaction. The World Cup is two years away. “It’s very unfortunate for the people in Pakistan who love the game so much and have been very desperate to see international cricket but I’m afraid that situation is very desperate now. “If this is the situation it’s going to be very difficult to see them being part of hosting the World Cup.” India have been allotted eight venues, Pakistan four, Sri Lanka two and Bangladesh one and the hosts will play all their preliminary league games at home. As some former Pakistan captains like Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis said it would be difficult for the Pakistan Cricket Board to convince any team to play cricket in their country. “Even the ICC will now find it hard to allow the World Cup matches to be held in Pakistan. It is gone,” said Waqar. Miandad, said Pakistan cricket had been badly hurt. “It is all gone.” Sri Lankan team air-lifted Sri Lankan cricket team, which was attacked by unidentified gunmen in Lahore this morning, was air-lifted from the Gaddafi Stadium to the international airport from where they would be flown out of the country as soon as possible. The shocked Sri Lankan cricket team would be flown out by a special plane to Colombo. Such an emergency measure was expected after the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajpaksa had made it clear that the players would be brought back to the homeland as soon as possible to ensure their safety and security. “I condemn this cowardly terrorist attack targeting the Sri Lankan cricket team,” Rajapaksa said in a message sent from Nepal, where he is on an official visit- he has now cut short his visit and would be heading back to Colombo. “The Sri Lankan players had gone to Pakistan as ambassadors of goodwill,” he said in the statement released by his office. Acting Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Hussein Bhaila, while condemning the dastardly attack on sportspersons, said that, “We are not pointing any fingers at anyone, but are concerned about well being and security of players,” adding “Terrorism does not know boundaries”. Bhaila also confirmed that two players, Tharanga Paranavitana and Thilan Thushara were hospitalised and the Sri Lankan High Commissioner is rushing to Lahore to take stock of the situation. Divulging the details, he said that Thilan Samaraweera, who was in great form, was hit in the thigh, while a bullet grazed the chest of another player that was treated in the hospital. Also, six others suffered from cut injuries and were treated in the Gaddafi Stadium itself. On the future course of action, Bhaila said, “We have to look at conditions, investigations before we take any decision about future tours”. He, however, defended the sending of the team to Pakistan, he said, “We had been given full security and sending the team to tour Pakistan was a joint decision of sports and foreign ministries.” He also reflected that it was about time the international community joined hands to combat the terror menace. The immediate measure also gives credence to the reports that the situation in Lahore is still not under control and that the encounter is still going on between the armed forces and the terrorists. The terrorists who are thought to be 12 in number, had fled the scene of crime after a brief exchange of fire and efforts to trace them have proved futile despite assurances from the Pak establishment. There are also reports that two car bombs have been diffused and a huge cache of arms has been recovered from the vicinity of Pakistan’s biggest cricket stadium. Earlier, The Sri Lankan Sports Minister, Lokuke Gamini, confirmed that six players were injured. The injured players are: Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana, Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Thushara. Also, Ehsaan Raza, the fourth umpire of the match, who was in the team bus is said to be critical.

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