Sri Lankan Cricket Team Bus Attacked by Terrorists in Pakistan
Last Updated: March 03, 2023, 08:44 IST
The Lankan team entered the stadium and the entire squad was airlifted in Pakistan’s Air Force helicopters.
The Sri Lankan cricketers were on their way to the Gaddafi Stadium in their team bus when a group of masked terrorists attacked them
On this day, March 3, 2009, the Sri Lankan tour bus was attacked by terrorists in Lahore in Pakistan, a day that brought the entire world to a standstill. Cricket has seen its bad days, but nothing comes close to the horrifying events which happened in Pakistan. Sri Lanka was originally to tour India, but the BCCI cancelled the tour following the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The security of touring national cricket teams in Pakistan was always questioned, however, the terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team were a dark day in the history of the sport. The attacks saw Pakistan being stripped of the 2011 World Cup hosting rights by the ICC.
The Sri Lanka squad was making their way to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore to play the third Test of the series against Pakistan. It was as the Lankan team bus crossed Liberty Statue, 12 armed men started firing at the bus. Behind the bus was also a minivan that was carrying the match officials who were also fired at. Pakistan’s security forces retaliated, however, the attack saw six Pakistan officials and two civilians being killed.
From the Lankan players’ bus, Thilan Samaraweera, Chaminda Vas, Mahela Jayawardane, Kumar Sangakkara, Tharanga Paranavitana, Ajantha Mendis, and Sarunga Lakmal sustained injuries, while Samaraweera and Paranavitana were admitted to the hospital due to shrapnel injuries. Sri Lanka’s assistant coach Paul Farbrace and reserve umpire Ahsan Raza were also injured.
Once the news broke out, the world stood still and watched coverage in disbelief and horror. The Lankan team entered the stadium and the entire squad was airlifted in Pakistan’s Air Force helicopters. The Lankans left for their country on the next available flight to Colombo. The Pakistan government drew plenty of criticism from all across, especially with the security of the nation being questioned.
Every cricketing nation agreed not to tour Pakistan at the time, which saw Pakistan host no international series and tournaments. Pakistan played their matches in Dubai from thereon. During their Pakistan tour, Sri Lanka played three ODIs, which saw them clinch the series 2-1. Lanka also played two Tests against Pakistan, which saw both the matches ending in a draw. It was before the third Test when the horrific and frightful events occurred.
It was in 2019 when Sri Lanka agreed to return to Pakistan, where the two sides played three ODIs and the same number of T20I matches. Since then, only a few nations have played in Pakistan.
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