'India must help Pak cricket recover'
Former Pakistan cricket captain Inzamam-ul Haq says Instead of criticising, India must back us and help our cricket survive because they are the superpowers of world cricket now and have the clout to convince any team to play anywhere they want. We saw that when England agreed to return to India after the unfortunate Mumbai attacks.india Updated: Mar 06, 2009 14:04 IST
Professional cricketers have large fan following, particularly in the Indian sub-continent where the game generates so much passion. Yet, we never thought that anybody could try to harm players. On Tuesday, all that changed when the Sri Lankan cricketers came under attack.
When I heard about the attack on television, it was shocking and the first thing that went through my mind was, God please don’t let any player or official be harmed.
We are fortunate that no player was seriously injured neither were the ICC match officials or else it would have been catastrophic for Pakistan and its cricket.
My mind initially refused to accept cricketers could be directly targeted because in the last few years playing in Pakistan has always been linked with security issues.
But I guess times have changed for the worse and I feel sorry for the Sri Lankans that they came here when no team was willing to tour Pakistan and this is how we treated them.
I spoke to a few on telephone and wished them well but the way they responded and behaved after the attack is exemplary, insisting it was not Pakistan’s fault nor did they have any complaints with the people.
They behaved like true ambassadors. A little bit of panic on the part of the Sri Lnakan players or their government could have caused so much more damage to cricket in Pakistan.
Unfortunately, now having read about what Match Referee Chris Broad and umpire Simon Taufel had to say about the attack on returning home, it looks like Pakistan cricket is in for really hard times.
I am no expert to say if a security lapse took place or not. But yes, the fact that the attack was carried out at Liberty roundabout and so close to the stadium stunned me and it also confirmed just how much more vigilant we have to be now against such attacks.
Cricket will never be the same again and the ICC and its member Boards will now have to deal with security issues on the same level as kept for politicians, diplomats and world state heads and most importantly keep in mind that this sort of attack can take place anywhere in the world. It could be Australia, it could be England, India or South Africa.
Just thinking that Pakistan is the most vulnerable as far as security is concerned would be the most foolish thing anyone can do and definitely harm the sport.
I just hope and pray we don’t see a new trend of sportsmen and women being targeted by terrorists in other countries as well.
For Pakistan cricket, the incident is a big blow and while I don’t want to blame anyone but we as a nation need to stand together. If some mistake has been made we need to accept it and ensure it does not happen again.
Pakistan Board would be well advised also to keep on arranging more under-19 and Pakistan A team tours abroad and also try to arrange similar series at home. Because if the ice is to be broken we must get countries to send their second string sides to Pakistan and test our security plan.
It is going to take a long time for other countries to have the confidence to send their teams to Pakistan but it would be a tragedy if only Pakistan was isolated as a international venue because of security issues.
I have no doubt that if security measures are beefed up international cricket can still continue in Pakistan and for this we need the help of our neighboring countries like India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
I have been a bit disappointed by India’s reaction to the incident but remember it is humanity that is under threat from these terrorists not just Pakistan.
I have not met a single Pakistani who does not condemn the attack on the Sri Lankans. Who does not want peace, who does not want a normal life. In these critical times cricket can only move forward if countries support each other and players show some courage.
Instead of criticising us, India must back us and help our cricket survive because they are the superpowers of world cricket now and have the clout to convince any team to play anywhere they want. We saw that when England agreed to return to India after the unfortunate Mumbai attacks.
First Published: Mar 06, 2009 13:25 IST