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March 6, 2009

Cricket meets Terrorism

Cricket Meets Terrorism

What we had all feared has finally became a reality. 03/03 was a sad day for Cricket.  We had the misfortune to wake up in the morning and hear the horrific news of visiting Sri Lankan team being attacked by Terrorists in Lahore, Pakistan.  They were on the way to the Ground, where they were expected to continue playing a Test match against Pakistan.

As much as I hate to say that, Terrorists attacks in the Sub-continent are not something anew. But, This is the first time a Cricket or a Sports team was targeted by Terrorists.  Proving all claims by Officials that Sports persons are safe from Terrorists, as they are loved by one and all.  The horrific scenes shown on TV screens across networks, brought memories of the hideous Terrorist attack in Mumbai on 11/26, which lasted a full 3 days of mayhem, and plunged to the whole country in sorrow and anger. 

Pakistan cricket is facing a bleak future, with visiting teams certain to boycott tours to the troubled nation for the foreseeable future in the wake of the attack. As international cricket pondered the ramifications, it became almost certain that Pakistan would be stripped of its status as the co-host of the 2011 World Cup.

Crickets Darkest DayThe horrific act, has brought down some of the legends of Pakistan, who always supported Pakistan as safe place for Cricket, and insisted that Teams should visit their country without any double standards. Wasim Akram terms 2011 World Cup as a "distant dream".  Waqar Younis, agrees by saying "We have to agree with whatever the ICC decides"

I was earlier apprehensive about Australian and England Cricket teams sending out their Security expert to assess a situation in the Sub-continent, before they decide to come visiting.  The trend of which dates back to 1996 World Cup in the Sub-continent, when Australia and West Indies, refused to play in Sri Lanka, citing the Civil War in the country as dangerous situation for any foreign visit.  But, now it looks that was a wise decision, all along.  The situation is quite well put forward by
Reg Dickason, the security consultant contracted by the ECB and CA, who said he had long feared that terrorists in Pakistan would target cricketers.

"A lot of the concerns we raised during the Champions Trophy have unfortunately come home to roost.  The notion of sporting teams being a protected species was held by many, but it was not a view that we shared, unfortunately.”

Geoff Lawson, who served as Pakistan coach until last October, feared the team would suffer from being cast into a nomadic existence. "Cricket won't be played in Pakistan for the foreseeable future," Lawson said. "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 [at home].”

As much as, I would hate the Pakistan authorities over their handling of Mumbai Terror Suspects in their country, the incident draws sympathy from all corners.  My deepest sorrows goes with 6 Policemen who laid their life in saving the Cricketers, and to the 2 civilians who were caught in the Cross fire.  I hope they are given their due credit by the authorities, and not just the monetary help. I don’t have much hopes on the Pak Administrations planned Investigations on these cases, as how they covered up during their last investigation on Mumbai Attacks, is a world known fact.

Already the ramifications of this incident in Pakistan has snow-balled to India, and the planned IPL for April, seems to be hanging in balance due to security concerns expressed by a bunch of foreign players.

Cricinfo’s Mukul Kesavan, has this chilling account on these Terrorists -

The boys from hell are back: sneakers, backpacks, big guns; moving about unmasked in broad daylight in that frank, open way that is their signature style” 

It’s time the authorities who have witnessed this hideous crimes being committed right before their eyes, take note, and prevent events like from happening in the future.  Denial Act, and Blame Game is not going to take them anywhere. 

If not, the reality is going to hit them right across the face, as it did now.