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Match referee 'extremely angry' at Pak security lapse

world Updated: Mar 04, 2009 21:35 IST

AFP
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Cricket match referee Chris Broad on Wednesday slammed the Pakistan security forces for providing insufficient protection after he and fellow officials came under fire during the terror attack in Lahore on Tuesday.

The van carrying Broad to the Gaddafi Stadium for the third Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka came under fire as gunmen aimed at the nearby Sri Lanka team bus.

Ex-England batsman Broad, who said he'd expressed concerns for his safety before the start of the tour, told a news conference here on Wednesday, "I am extremely angry at the Pakistani security forces."

"We were promised high level security and in our hour of need that security vanished and they left us to be sitting ducks."

He added, "I had an inkling before the Test match leg of the tour that something might happen. I certainly didn't think this was going to happen.

"I raised my concerns with the ICC (International Cricket Council) before the tour started and they passed on those concerns to the Pakistan Cricket Board and they assured me through e-mail that all security would be taken care of, presidential-style security. And clearly that didn't happen.

"When we were in the van we weren't aware of what was going on outside. "

"But after the incident when you watch the TV pictures you can clearly see the white van we were in, next to the ambulance in the middle of a roundabout, with terrorists shooting into our van and past our van and not a sign of a policeman anywhere."

Broad, 51, has been praised for trying to protect severely injured local umpire Ahsan Raza after the fourth official had been shot in a van where the driver was killed by gunfire.

But Broad, clearly still shaken by events, stressed: "I am not a hero.

"Ahsan Raza took a bullet to the stomach or chest - somewhere in the spleen and lung region. I was lying behind him on the floor of the van and there were bullets flying all around us.

"I only noticed he was injured when I saw a large pool of blood had spilled on to the floor and out of the partially opened van door. I just tried to put some pressure on the wound. He's just an umpire who loves the game."

"We all had the same feeling - we were just waiting for a bullet to hit us."

Sri Lanka's tour was immediately called off after Tuesday's attack -- which left six police and two civilians dead with seven players and an assistant coach sustaining injuries - and New Zealand subsequently indicated it would call off its November tour of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the ICC has raised doubts over whether the country can still co-host the 2011 World Cup.

And Broad, said the incident had the capacity to sound the "death knell" for international cricket in Pakistan.

"They have a lot of very talented cricketers, and I feel sorry for the cricketers and for the cricket-mad public of Pakistan," said Broad, the father of England fast bowler Stuart.

"But this is a bit of a death knell for cricket in Pakistan and I feel sorry for those people. I can't see it going on for the foreseeable future.

"Ijaz Butt, the chairman (of the Pakistan Cricket Board) has come out and said that friends will come to Pakistan but I don't think they have any friends in world cricket that will go to Pakistan after this has happened.

"Sri Lanka were a friendly country - they wanted to go, they wanted to support Pakistan. I don't think they will be going back and certainly India, Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa won't be keen."

Looking ahead, Broad said maybe the ICC would have to take more direct responsibility for security arrangements rather than leaving matters to individual boards.

"There are countries who have their own security experts," he said. "I know England have Reg Dickason from Australia.

"Reg Dickason didn't think Pakistan was safe for anyone to go to. He was amazed the Sri Lanka tour went ahead. But he's not advising Sri Lanka.

"Maybe there's something for the ICC to look at - that they themselves take the safety concerns into consideration and make the decisions."

Broad said his concerns were heightened by the recent ICC decision to revert back to making England the winners of the 2006 Test at The Oval, where Pakistan forfeited the match, having first changed the result to a draw.

"It was off the back of the ICC meeting where the Oval Test match result had changed, there had been a UN envoy that had been kidnapped in Pakistan and, of course, the Champions Trophy had been taken away from Pakistan," he said.

"I just thought as an Englishman, particularly with the Oval Test match, I just felt a little concerned for my own safety.

"But, as I said, I was assured by Zakir Khan, the director of cricket operations in the PCB, that everything would be fine.

"I was there for the one-day series and everything went well.

"Once you get assurances from someone who's actually living in the country and knows the situation, it's very difficult to change your view on that and I went along with it."