Shootout in Lahore March 4, 2009

Murali questions security lapse

Cricinfo staff


Muttiah Muralitharan: "They were shooting both sides of the bus and they counted 39 holes." © AFP
 

Muttiah Muralitharan has questioned whether the terrorists who perpetrated Tuesday's attack on the Sri Lankans had received inside information as to the team's movements. In a chilling account of the Lahore shootout, Murali said the precise timing of the attack suggested the terrorists could have been tipped off about timing and security arrangements.

"Somehow in this incident there were no police with guns on the bus," Murali told Australian radio. "If someone was there with a gun we would have had a chance of defending ourselves. Normally all the buses go and we have four or five escorts. We left at 8.30am and Younis Khan (and the Pakistanis) at 8.35am. We divided into two, maybe they knew the information for the right time. They tried to shoot the driver. Then they were shooting both sides of the bus and they counted 39 holes."

Murali's comments, if proven, would prove a crushing blow to Pakistan's hopes of hosting cricket in the near future. Law enforcement agencies in the country have long been accused of aiding Taliban militants, and any suggestion that the attack on the Sri Lankans was executed with the assistance of local security forces will heighten concerns that Pakistan is unfit to accommodate touring teams.

Murali emerged physically unscathed from the attacks, but said he feared for the life of team-mates as the team bus was sprayed with bullets. "There were gun shots going on and the bullets were passing us," he said. "I saw [Tharanga] Paranavitana was bleeding in the chest. I thought he was gone, actually. Thilan Samaraweera was bleeding, Kumar Sangakkara was bleeding from the shoulder. There was blood everywhere. It was frightening."

Murali would not confirm whether he would play for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. "I don't know, we have to speak to them, see how the security is, make sure everything is right ... not only IPL, England, anywhere. I never in my dreams thought we would be attacked."