Pakistan cricket was already in tatters. Controversy seemed to follow it like a shadow - Drug scandals. Match fixing scandals. Dressing room spats. Ball tampering claims. The Oval fiasco. Bob Woolmer’s death. Financial problems and Political issues. The list goes on. Sure, other teams have had their share of controversies, but nothing like the sort Pakistan have had.
And now this – The visiting Sri Lankan cricket team being the target of terrorist attacks in Pakistani soil. Like India, the sport is said to be revered in Pakistan. With these attacks, that claim comes into question. Imran Khan once said that cricketers would never be under any threat from terrorists –
…cricketers would never be under any threat from terrorists. Reason is that the terrorists rely on support from the masses because that’s where they get their recruits and cricket is a game which is so loved and there’s such passion in Pakistan, that the terrorists know that if a cricket match is bombed, they’ve had it. I mean the public will just turn against them.
He will have to eat his words now. Before the start of the tour, Javed Mianded, the former Director General of PCB, said –
…we want to prove to the world that Pakistan is safe and secure for cricket
The exact opposite has happened and the message has gone out that Pakistan is no longer safe for cricket.
Many countries have already been refusing to tour Pakistan. The ICC Champions Trophy was also called off. And now with this incident, Pakistan being a co-host to the 2011 WC will come under serious scrutiny. In fact, it will take a few years before another team even decides to tour Pakistan and local papers have already started writing obituaries for International Cricket in Pakistan.
Before we start talking about the future, let us spare a thought for the people with were killed and injured in the incident. My heartfelt condolences to all those who were affected.
This is really a sad day for Pakistan, cricket and cricket fans around the world…