Sri Lanka players escape with minor injuries in attack

Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan was cancelled on Tuesday after about 12 unidentified gunmen opened fire on Sri Lanka’s team bus near the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on Tuesday morning. The Lankan team was on its way to the stadium for the third day’s play of the second Test.

Six Sri Lankan players are believed to have been injured in the attack. According to reports, Thilan Samaraweera was shot in the chest and was operated upon, following which it was announced that he is out of danger. Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Chaminda Vaas and Thilan Thushara were also injured in the attack. However, Sanath Jayasuriya confirrmed CNN-IBN over the phone that all the players were safe.

According to GEO TV, five policemen who were part of the security ring for the Sri Lankan players were killed on the spot, while two died in the hospital.

Apart from firing at the team, even grenades were lobbed at the Lankan team bus and rocket launchers were reportedly used.

The security in-charge of the Gaddafi stadium was also quoted as saying that some Sri Lankan players were still inside the stadium and that star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was safe.

The Lankan team media manager said the team taken to high security zone.

Cricinfo’s Sri Lanka editor Charlie Austin said there was some explosion before the firing started. He also said that skipper Mahela Jayawardene had also been hit in his ankle.

The area was cordoned off and Kalashnikovs have been recovered from the spot.

Security concerns in Pakistan have troubled tours in that country before as well. As many as three tours were cancelled in the last year alone.

Australia pulled out of their scheduled visit, while the International Cricket Council (ICC) postponed the Champions Trophy one-day tournament in September.

That postponement was followed by the cancellation of India’s tour to Pakistan that was scheduled to be held this Januaray and February. The decision was taken after relations between the neighbours deteriorated further following the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

The tour had always been under doubt due to the security situation in Pakistan and it was further put in jeopardy by the terrorist attack in Mumbai.

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