India Insight

Pakistan cricket plunges into crisis

It’s just not cricket.

Ducking for cover as bullets replaced bouncers… players evacuated in a military helicopter that lands right next to a 22-yard pitch… the same strip at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium that saw Thilan Samaraweera score a double century the previous evening.

Samaraweera was hit on his leg during an audacious attack by armed militants on a convoy taking his team to the venue, an attack that left six cricketers injured and more than half-a-dozen Pakistani security personnel killed.

The world of cricket will never be the same again.

More worrying is the fate of Pakistani cricket. Tours to Pakistan were already a trickle with teams like Australia refusing to travel.

The matches against Sri Lanka came after more than a year of near pariah status. And even this tour was hastily arranged after India pulled out post-26/11.

After months of shadow boxing and pulled punches, the ICC had to suspend international cricket in Pakistan.

Cricket in South Asia: critically injured?

This is not the first time cricket or cricketers were targeted in the subcontinent, especially Pakistan.

India’s 1982-83 tour of Pakistan was disrupted after rioting marred the last Test in Karachi. Who can forget the sight of scared cricketers scampering to the pavilion as an angry mob invaded the pitch at the National Stadium.

In May 2002, a car bomb exploded in Karachi in front of the hotel where the New Zealand team was staying, killing 13 people, including 11 French navy experts. New Zealand called off the tour within hours of the attack.