Most of the debates over the past two weeks have been over the quality of both the pitches on view in the two-Test series. As a few armed men would have it, it was not the pitches alone that ended up being dead in Pakistan. Hafsa, on "The Dawn Blog" seems to be arriving at a conclusion along similar lines, just a couple of hours after the attacks on the cricket convoy from hotel to stadium was reported:
This deadly attack simply means no international team will be willing to come and play any sport in Pakistan.
On wellpitched.com , "Sledgehammer" went one step further or, more appropriately, one foot deeper, and wrote what could be one of the first obituaries for the sport iitself in Pakistan:
I think the title says it all. Today's disgusting and shameful attacks
have sealed the deal. There is no reason for any foreign team to tour
Dominic Cork, who was on the commentary team there, had this immediate reaction:
"I won't be coming back here while I'm still
living. I don't think international teams should come back to this
country, whether it's 10 or 20 years."
The news may sound shocking and seem to vindicate most teams' stance of not even remotely taking a stance on any pitch in Pakistan. But it may well have been the "satisfactory levels of security" repeatedly promised by the PCB and accepted by the Sri Lankan Sports Minister just ten days ago, that seems to have left the Sri Lankan players alive.
But Sanjeev Miglani from Reuter's "FactBox" reminds one and all about the pre-existing security concerns for cricket to be taking place in Pakistan even before this :
- Sri Lanka's cricket team were touring Pakistan after
India pulled out in the wake of the Mumbai attacks
- Until the Sri Lankan series Pakistan had gone without
test cricket for more then a year and was keen to have
international cricket at home.
- Australia postponed a test tour in April 2008 and the
International Cricket Council also put off the Champions Trophy
after South Africa raised security concerns about playing in
- In 2002, a bomb exploded in Karachi while the New Zealand
cricket team were touring, killing 13 people including 11
French navy experts.
- The ICC last month
asked the organisers to plan alternate venues due to security concerns.
Two other, much-publicised, assumptions seem to have also been gunned down by this incident. The first of these having been initiated by Imran Khan
in the aftermath of the myriad cancellations of international cricketing events in Pakistan in 2008:
There is no problem about the security of cricketers in Pakistan.
his logic being
terrorists will never target cricketers knowing that they will then
lose the battle of hearts and minds of the people. Cricketers are safe
The second of those assumptions was that Sri Lanka being one of those seemingly rare friendly nations, especially one that chose to prove this friendship by defying what had almost become as commonplace a tenet in cricket as "bowling within oneself" or the more annoying "it ain't over until the last ball is bowled", was immune to the ire of any lurking attackers.
As far as assumptions go, chances are Samaraweera would have assumed that his double double would not be followed by so much trouble. Chances also are that he would gladly give up those four tons of runs for never having to face the predicament of him ending up on the wrong side of four kilograms of explosives. But chance is a funny thing and many know it better than an international cricketer, those many being the rest of the citizens of the subcontinent, because and brace yourself ... "after all, cricket imitates life itself".