In the past, Cricket has been affected by wars. But never had it been ever attacked like it was on 3rd March 2009.
2009 Attack on Sri Lankan Cricket Team: What had happened was that a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricketers was ambushed by 12 gunmen near Lahore’s iconic Gaddafi international cricket stadium.
Half a dozen of the Sri Lankan cricket team players were injured in this brutal attack. Six policemen sacrificed their life protecting the cricketers from the attackers.
List of Sri Lankan cricketers who were injured: –
- Suranga Lakmal
- Mahela Jayawardene
- Chaminda Vaas
- Ajantha Mendis
- Tharanga Paranavitana
- Kumar Sangakkara
- Thilan Samaraweera
Along with them, 2 innocent civilians also perished in this tragedy. The gunmen were allegedly armed with hand grenades, RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades) and AK-47 Kalashnikov rifles.
This was not a first attack against a team touring Pakistan. In May 2002, a bomb blew up outside the Kiwi team’s hotel and they left the remaining test series.
It is said that a group by the name of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was behind the attack. Fortunately, no cricketer was killed.
The attack was well-planned. Kidnapping of these players was initially being considered to be the main motive of the gunmen.
The attack lasted for just few minutes. After the attack had ended, the players were immediately picked up in PAF helicopters in the Gaddafi Stadium and then decision was made to make sure that they get back to Colombo on the first flight possible.
While the Sri Lankan authorities thought about the possibility of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil and Eelam) being the culprit, further investigation totally refuted this particular theory.
There was also failure on the part of the police as they had been tipped about a potential attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team beforehand. Then, all the teams avoided the series in Pakistan.