Where: Lahore, Pakistan
March 3, 2009 : In an incident that shocked the governments and the people of the cricket-loving region, visiting players became the targets of a terrorist attack. Seven members of the Sri Lankan cricket team touring Pakistan were injured and six Pakistani poicemen were killed. The players were on their way to the Gaddafi stadium on the third day of the second cricket test match against hosts Pakistan. The team bus and police escort vehicles were waylaid near the Liberty Square roundabout. They were attacked by 10 to 12 masked gunmen bearing AK-47 guns, grenades, and rocket launchers. They first hit the vehicles leading the convoy, and then opened fire on the team bus. The attackers managed to escape, leaving their weapons and ammunition behind.
The driver of the bus was unhurt and drove immediately to the secure area of the stadium, but not before team members got hit. Wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara said they were all alive only because of the driver’s quick action. Tharanga Paranavithana and Thilan Samaraweera needed treatment in hospital.
The cricket tour was cancelled at once and the team returned to Sri Lanka. Pakistan had invited Sri Lanka to tour as a direct result of India refusing to play there after the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack. The entire cricketing world has raised worried voices about the prospects of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, of which Pakistan is one of the co-hosts. Last month world cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council, decided not to hold the 2009 Champions Trophy in Pakistan for security reasons.