Sri Lanka call off Pak cricket tour

Sri Lanka's cricket tour of Pakistan has been cancelled with immediate effect following an attack on the team bus in which six players got injured.

Written by Agencies | Colombo | Published:March 3, 2009 1:44 pm

Sri Lanka’s cricket tour of Pakistan has been cancelled with immediate effect following an attack on the team bus in which six players were injured on their way to Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore,Sri Lanka Foreign Secretary Palitha Cohona said on Tuesday.

“The tour has come to an end. We are in touch with Pakistan authorities and their Cricket Board. The players will be coming home as soon as possible,” informed Cohona.

At least six Sri Lankan cricketers were injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire at them killing five police personnel escorting the team to the Gaddafi stadium for the third day of the second Test.

The injured cricketers include Kumar Sangakkara,Ajantha Mendis and Thilan Samaraweera.

“They are doing everything possible to make the players comfortable and the injured are being taken care of. (Pakistan) Government has assured us all the security,” he said.

Sri Lanka Cricketers’ Association Secretary Graeme Labrooy said he spoke to captain Mahela Jayawardene and found out that everyone was safe barring injuries to some players.

“I just spoke to Jayawardene. All are safe,barring injuries to a few players,” he said.

“Six players are injured,including (Thilan) Samaraveera who is shot in leg. He undergoing treatment in hospital while others are in Gaddafi Stadium,” he said.

Lankan cricket team could be flown back today

Sri Lankan cricket team,which was attacked by unidentified gunmen near the cricket stadium in Lahore this morning,is likely to be brought home this evening in a special flight.

“Efforts are on to bring back the cricket team along with the injured cricketers at the earliest and they could be brought back by a special plane this evening,” sources said. Sri Lankan Cricket Chief Executive Officer Dilip Mendis both Tharanga Paranavitana and Thilan Thushara are in hospital after sustaining injuries.

“The two players are in hospital but are out of danger,” Mendis told reporters adding “we are trying to get the team out of Pakistan as early as possible”.

Mendis also said assistant coach of the Sri Lankan team Paul Farbrace was injured along with some players. He also assured that the cricketers were safe and speedy measures were being taken to bring them back into Sri Lanka at the earliest.

Cricket commentator and former Sri Lankan cricketers Roshan Abeysinghe told a TV channel from Lahore that Lankan cricket players were air lifted by helicopter from the cricket ground to a safer place.

Meanwhile,commotion broke out in Sri Lankan Parliament following the attack in Lahore,with Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge being questioned by the Opposition Marxist JVP Members on the security provided to the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan.

Lokuge told the Members that cricket team had been provided with adequate security and that he too watched the match that was held in Karachi and was contended about the security arrangements.

Former Sri Lankan cricket captain and Parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga recalled in Parliament the support provided by India and Pakistan to Sri Lanka on the security matters during the holding of the 1996 World Cup cricket tournament in the sub continent.

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