Cricket

On this day: Sri Lankan players attacked in Lahore

The ICC World Cup 2011 had been scheduled to be held in the Indian Sub-continent and four of the major Asian cricketing nations – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were elected to be the co-hosts of the tournament.

While rest of the three countries were busy planning and renovating stadiums in their land, Pakistan was trying to prove the cricketing world that it had appropriate security arrangements to host a multi-team mega event. The calamity that struck on this day in the year 2009 brought the brutal and unpleasant truth in front of everyone’s eyes, materializing the doubts of the cricketing world.

The first match of the series ended in a draw and the second started in a familiar fashion on what seemed to be a placid batting paradise. Sri Lanka had compiled 606 in the first innings. Pakistan started in solid fashion with openers Khurram Manjoor and Salman Butt adding 110 for the first wicket with former having already completed his half century.

On what eventually turned out to be the last delivery of the second day, Mahela Jayawardene ran out Salman Butt to set-up an interesting third day.

The day which was supposed to decide the course of the series, forget the match, the day which was set to test the patience of Pakistani batsmen in front of Murali’s magic, the day which was eventually never played!

The Sri Lankan team bus was attacked on its way to Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. Five Sri Lankan cricketers were injured. Captain Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara were lucky to escape with minor injuries while double centurion Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana, and Ajantha Mendis received major blows.

The test was quickly called off and the players were evacuated out of the stadium via helicopters and taken to the nearest air base. Sri Lanka’s attempt to reconstruct and improve the image of Pakistan by agreeing to play when the Indian team declined to the tour of the country were shattered just like the host country’s image.

The course of the series was not decided on that day but the fate of International cricket in Pakistan was.

It is ironical that so near to the eighth anniversary of this black day in history of cricket, PCB are trying to revive top-notch International Cricket in Pakistan by arranging the Pakistan Super League at the same venue. With top England stars already pulling out, the success of the event is a huge doubt. But this day will never be forgot by the Cricket fan’s throughout the world.

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