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Five Sri Lanka cricket players injured in Pakistan shooting

[Telegraph, Tuesday, 3 March 2009 08:12 One Comment]

Thilan Samaraweera, Ajantha Mendis, Tharanga Paranavitana, Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Thushara have been injured after gunmen opened fire on the Sri Lanka team bus on the way to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore ahead of the third day of the second Test against Pakistan, Sri Lanka sports minister Gamini Lokuge has confirmed.

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Lokuge added two players were receiving treatment in hospital including Samaraweera, who was shot in the thigh.

 

Reports also suggest five policemen were killed when the team bus was fired upon by unidentified armed gunmen 100 metres from the stadium.

 

"We were told that there was a shooting incident while the team was on its way to the stadium. The players have returned to the hotel," Lokuge said.

 

"Two players are still receiving treatment in hospital. Thilan Samaraweera, Ajantha Mendis, Tharanga Paranavitana, Kumar Sangakkara, Thilan Thushara are those that have been injured. Samaraweera is still in hospital, he has been hit in the thigh.

 

"We are waiting for more information and a report from the High Commission and Pakistan Cricket Board.

"We are shocked by this incident and we are worried about the players’ safety. We are discussing with the other members of the cricket board about what steps to take now. In all, probability we will withdraw the team."

 

A statement on the Sri Lanka government’s official website confirmed that a number of players had been injured and that the Test match against Pakistan has now been called off.

 

"Several Sri Lankan cricketers including Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavitana were injured in a shooting incident in Lahore a short while ago," read the statement.

"According to available information, gunmen fired on a convoy carrying Pakistani and Sri Lankan cricketers. Unconfirmed reports say some policemen had been killed by the shooting.

 

"Meanwhile the second Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan has been called off after the incident."

Sri Lanka were contesting the first Test series to take place in Pakistan in 14 months.

 

Several teams have recently refused to tour Pakistan due to security concerns and last year’s Champions Trophy was postponed over similar worries.

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One Comment »

  • shamalee de silva said:

    We Sri lankans still consider Pakistanis as our friends and we know that this was an attack carried out by an extremist group and that it does not reflect the intentions of the entire nation but that of a group of cowards. We Sri lankans have not forgotten that Pakistan and India stood by our side in 1996 world cup when Aussies (no offense meant to the Aussies-we understand that people have different opinions abt their personal safety) claimed sri lanka is unsafe to play in-We also remember the great support extended by Pakistani people towards our team during the 1996 finals in Lahore- therefore we have, and still do consider Pakistan as one of our most loyal friendly countries. We Sri Lankans know that it’s not easy to stop a guerrilla terror attack as we too have been suffering due to LTTE terrorism, which will be eradicated soon. We’re grateful to the Pakistani police force for protecting our national team, and we’re deeply sorry for the families of the dead police officers and civilians. Anyways we hope to see friendly cricketing encounters between Pakistan and sri lanka in the future too and hope that this horrible incident will not affect the friendship between Pakistanis and sri lankans. However we really hope that the Pakistani government will take their terrorist threat more seriously and take appropriate action to eradicate terror. Peace!