PAKISTAN: LAHORE – Sri Lankan Cricket Team Attacked by Terrorists


With the third day of the second test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka soon to be underway at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan, the Sri Lankan cricket team was making its way to the stadium. As the team bus was about to enter the stadium it came under attack from terrorists.

A rocket was fired at the bus and missed, probably saving the lives of those on the bus. Following this explosion the bus came under fire from grenades and small arms as masked terrorists moved through the surrounding trees and bushes.

Travelling not far behind the bus were the umpires of the second test and their van was also attacked. The driver of the van was killed by gunfire.

The terrorists were soon engaged with Pakistani security forces. However it is understood that the terrorists have escaped the scene, fleeing into side streets away from the stadium. It is thought there may have been up to a dozen terrorists in the attack.

So far the reports are sketchy as to just what the fatalities are, but at least eight people are dead and six Sri Lankan team members have been wounded in the attack. The police escort for the Sri Lankan team have taken at least five fatalities. There are reports that up to 25 security force members have also been killed, but this is unconfirmed.

Thilan Samaraweera (gunshot wound to the upper leg), who yesterday scored his second consecutive double-century and Tharanga Paranavitana (deep shrapnel wound in the chest) have been treated in hospital and are the most seriously wounded of the Sri Lankan players after being hit by gunfire. Also wounded were Kumar Sangakkara, Thilan Thushara, Suranga Lakmal and Ajantha Mendis. Also wounded was support staff member Paul Farbrace. They received shrapnel injuries of various kinds.

Sri Lanka has now recalled their team, abandoning the remainder of the Pakistan tour. The team is expected to leave Pakistan as soon as possible.

The attack resembled the well planned Mumbai attacks a few months ago and the terrorists in this attack were clearly well trained.

Coming Back to the Field… Competition at Last!


In my last post before the Australian-Indian test series in Australia, I was concerned at the lack of competition for Australia in cricket. Australia has of course won the series 2-1, however, the series was extremely close in the end and the second test which was won by Australia was sadly decided by poor umpiring in reality. India would probably have won that one if not for the poor umpiring.

Still, the good news is that cricket is becoming a competition again, with Australia coming back to the field somewhat. With the retirement of Glen McGrath, Shane Warne, Damien Martin, Justin Langer and now Adam Gilchrist, the Australian team is definitely coming back to the field – though clearly they are still very good and the best team in the world.

Brett Lee has stepped up and is the spearhead of the Australian attack – and is one of the best bowlers in the world. Stuart Clark is usually a brilliant partner in the Australian attack for Brett Lee and is another class bowler. However, the bowling stocks seems to fall away after these two, with Mitchell Johnson being a little too erratic at this stage (though he seems effective still in the way of wicket taking) and Shaun Tait being disappointing. Stuart MacGill is not the bowler he was and there is therefore no effective replacement for Shane Warne in the area of leg spin, with no seemingly effective fulltime spin bowlers of any form.

In state sides there is Bollinger in New South Wales, who seems to be the goods at such an early stage of his first class career, but there seems little more apart from Nathan Bracken (also from New South Wales).

With the departure of Adam Gilchrist there is now an opportunity for Brad Haddin to step up to the Australian team. After Haddin there seems to be daylight in the way of wicket keeper batsmen.

The future for Australian batsmen seems to be fading also, though there is still an extremely strong top order in the current Australian team. Matthew Hayden has indicated he will be sticking around for a little while, which is good news for Australia as there seems to be quite a dropping away of talent in the way of opening batsmen after Phil Jacques, with Simon Katich seemingly too old to be around much longer (though he is arguably in the best form of his career).

Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds are a class above many other batting combinations around the world, with not a real lot seemingly to step up to the lofty standards these four have now set. Certainly Michael Clarke seems a clear choice for a future Australian captain, but what sort of team will he lead – a question that will be answered in time to come with much interest.

Certainly Australian cricket is very healthy and is probably the strongest in the world, yet admitting the great talent in Australian cricket, the Australian team is coming back to the rest of the field and we can look forward to more competitive cricket – or so it seems. The future will tell the story and it wouldn’t be at all surprising that with future retirements from the team, other players from the Pura Cup will step up and have grown into the same class that has set the Australian team above the rest of the world for so long.

Australian Cricket Team


The Australian Cricket Team has been copping a fair bit of flak recently – poor sports, arrogant, etc. What are my thoughts on all of this? I would tend to agree with those critics who say the Australian team is arrogant and that members of the team are probably full of themselves.

The behaviour of some of the team is especially poor, espeically in regards to onfield antics, etc. I’m thinking of the likes of Warne, McGrath and co. Off-field – well, the antics of Warne speak for themselves.

Though I do not believe it necessary to bring the game into disrepute or to show dissent toward the umpires when things don’t go the way you would like, I do have to say that the umpires must share some of the blame for the reaction of players toward them at the moment.

What do I mean? Some of the umpires and their bosses have said that umpiring is currently at a high standard – however, I would disagree greatly with that assessment. Just have a look at the recent Ashes series, the Australia-West Indies series, and the Australia-South Africa series. The number of poor umpring decisions has been incredible. Brian Lara, easily the greatest batsmen of his era, could hardly get a decent batting opportunity, being victim to terrible umpiring decision after another.

So players are not allowed to show dissent (and Lara certainly did not) – well I can almost forgive them (and probably do) when the umpiring is so ordinary. Adam Gilchrist’s recent dissent charge was probably justified – however, I can understand the frustration when the umpires keep turning in so many ordinary performances. Perhaps the umpires should improve their game before they start crying about players showing them little respect – after all, there is truth in the maxim that respect is earned.

The other thing I find incredible is the constant complaints about there being too much cricket and that players need a rest. Are you kidding? I saw a recent report that Australian cricket players are playing at the international level something like 100 days of the year. How tough is that? Half of that time they are sitting in the dressing room and a lot of the other time they are standing in the field waiting for someone to hit the ball in their direction – very hard work and exhausting! Perhaps they should get a real job like many other Australians who work at least five days a week and do real work that is far more trying than playing your chosen sport.

Perhaps they are getting too much money for doing so little :-)

There is little doubt that the Australian cricket team is the best in the world – but some healthy perspective and a dose of reality for the players wouldn’t go astray.