‘We never wanted to tour Pak’
Mahendra Singh Dhoni counted his lucky stars at being in a country like New Zealand which was safe and fortunately not on the terrorists' radar. Anand Vasu reports.Updated: Mar 04, 2009, 00:13 IST
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the kind of free spirit who likes to take his bike out for a spin in the dead of the night. The Indian captain is going to find it increasingly difficult to venture out without security in the face of the Lahore attacks on the Sri Lankan team.
"I was quite shocked to hear about what happened. My mind was just blank when I got the news," said Dhoni. ":It's sad that sportpspersons are attacked, even a civilian getting attacked is just as sad."
Dhoni counted his lucky stars at being in a country like New Zealand which was safe and fortunately not on the terrorists' radar. "Of course they are a few places where you have to be aware of what's happening and what's going on around you. I am glad I am in New Zealand and I don't have to worry about these things," said Dhoni. "From now on cricketers will be on alert, but there is not much a cricketer could have done in a situation like this when the whole convoy is attacked."
Dhoni also made it plain that he and his team were happy that India's scheduled tour of Pakistan was called off after a government directive. "I am happy that we didn't tour Pakistan, or happy that the government didn't allow us to tour Pakistan. It (the attack) may have happened to us, it may not have happened to us. But overall I am happy to be here," said Dhoni. "Sides like us we are quite happy not to be there, in this kind of situation. People say sport is not targetted, but you are not immune to it. Once a guy decides to attack the cricketers, we are not tough targets. Cricketers roam about freely on touring, so you have to be aware."
Dhoni, however, refused to speculate on whether these attacks would affect the subcontinent's chances of staging the 2011 World Cup, only saying, "You have got the ICC to decide that. One thing is for sure, I don't think cricket is happening there (in Pakistan) in the next few years maybe."
Niranjan Shah, former secretary of the board and currently manager of the team, expressed anguish at the incident. "It is the most shocking news for cricket. We never expect such things in cricket. This is really a very terrible incident," said Shah, adding that there would be some fall out from the incident. "It will have some effect (on the 2011 World Cup), there is no doubt about this."
Preity Zinta, co-owner of the Kings XI Punjab IPL team, made her second public appearance of the day, this time wearing a black arm band. "This is a really unfortunate incident for sports in general. My prayers go out for the players in the Sri Lankan team, not just for those who played for us in the IPL. Our prayers are with them," said the actress. "There have been some crazy stories doing the rounds and we don't know what's true and what's not. I just hope everyone is safe. It is one of the darkest days in cricket history."