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March 4, 2009
Chris Broad landed back in Manchester and launched a stinging attack on the security in Lahore at the time of yesterday's attack which left eight people dead, while expressing his concern that the incident sounds a 'death knell' for cricket in Pakistan.
Broad, who was the ICC's match referee for the Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the city, accused the Pakistani authorities of leaving match officials as "sitting ducks" and claiming that players and officials arriving for the Test were not offered sufficient protection despite assurances given by the Pakistan board.
"I'm angry with the Pakistani security forces," Broad said. "We were promised high level security and in our hour of need that security vanished. There was not a sign of a policeman anywhere. They had clearly gone, left the scene and left us to be sitting ducks. I had an inkling before the Test match leg of the tour that something might happen. I certainly didn't think this was going to happen."
Broad's claims that he had flagged concerns about the security before the start of the series will raise issues. "I raised my concerns with the ICC before the tour started and they passed on those concerns to the Pakistan board. They assured me through e-mail that all security would be taken care of, presidential-style security. And clearly that didn't happen.
"When we were in the van we weren't aware of what was going on outside. But after the incident when you watch the TV pictures you can clearly see the white van we were in, next to the ambulance in the middle of a roundabout, with terrorists shooting into our van and past our van and not a sign of a policeman anywhere."
Broad has been praised for throwing himself on top of fellow official Ahsan Raza as the vehicle they were travelling in came under fire. "I am not a hero," he said. "Most of us were just waiting for a bullet to hit us."
Raza was shot in the back during the attack and rushed to Lahore's Service hospital for surgery on a collapsed right lung and a damaged liver. Hospital staff said the operation was successful.Raza's family members have said he is recovering fast and is likely to be released from the intensive care unit in the next two to three days.
Broad went on to say that some of the security forces fled when the shooting started. "At some stage … someone opened the door of the van and an elite policeman threw himself inside and lay on top of me. That wasn't particularly brave. When the shooting stopped, I shouted at him to drive us away but he said: 'I don't drive.'"
For all Broad's anger at the security concerns, he was just as dismayed at the impact that the attack could have on the future of cricket in the country. "They have a lot of very talented cricketers, and I feel sorry for the cricketers and for the cricket-mad public of Pakistan," he said. "But this is a bit of a death knell for cricket in Pakistan and I feel sorry for those people. I can't see it going on for the foreseeable future.
"Ijaz Butt, the chairman [of the PCB] has come out and said that friends will come to Pakistan but I don't think they have any friends in world cricket that will go to Pakistan after this has happened. Sri Lanka were a friendly country - they wanted to go, they wanted to support Pakistan. I don't think they will be going back and certainly India, Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa won't be keen."
Broad said the ICC would, in future, possibly have to take more direct responsibility for security arrangements rather than leaving matters to individual boards. "There are countries who have their own security experts," he said. "I know England have Reg Dickason from Australia. Dickason didn't think Pakistan was safe for anyone to go to. He was amazed the Sri Lanka tour went ahead. But he's not advising Sri Lanka.
"Maybe there's something for the ICC to look at - that they themselves take the safety concerns into consideration and make the decisions."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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