Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fans: 'Cricket loses its innocence in Pakistan'

Source: CNN

There are many articles on CNN that are related to the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus earlier today. This is my favorite one because it about hurting the sport and all of it's fans.

Cricket has long been considered the gentleman's game -- a sport in which the tenets of fair play and respect for authority are so revered that it introduced a colloquialism to describe something unacceptable: "It's just not cricket."

Cricket fans around the world found themselves shaking their heads and muttering just that Tuesday morning, after gunmen in Pakistan opened fire on a bus carrying members of the Sri Lankan national team on their way to a stadium for a match.

At least seven police officers and a driver were killed and at least eight members of the Sri Lankan team were wounded in the well-coordinated attack in the eastern city of Lahore.

No one immediately claimed responsibility.

"The sport that was so important that it helped usher the thawing of tense India-Pakistan relations, the sport that finally led the UK to join the rest of the world in embargoing South Africa during apartheid, it just lost its innocence today," said Razab Chowdhury of Fremont, California.

Sport transcends politics. Throughout periods of war, there have been truces to celebrate sport. The Olympic Truce is the most famous one. Countries that are in isolation such as Cuba and North Korea can still come to world stage in baseball and soccer respectively. In Canada, our most famous series was the 1972 Hockey Summit Series where both Canada and the USSR offered friendship to celebrate hockey during the height of the Cold War. The friendship series wasn't so friendly by the end of it as it became one of the most famous sporting events in history due to it's competitiveness.

Most Pakistanis would agree that before today, an attack at a cricket venue was unthinkable. A cricket venue is sacred ground. And to attack 'guests' makes it even worse. Most politicians and sportsmen thought that no matter how violent terrorist attacks were that sport would be spared. There needs to be a re-think now and Pakistan must be suspended from all cricket competitions for at last one year.

Umpire Ahsan Raza in critical condition
Ramiz Raja: Tough for Pakistan cricket to re-emerge
Pakistan team had narrow escape - Younis

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