Lahore:With various cricket teams reluctant to tour Pakistan on security grounds, the strife-torn nation received another blow to its image when the Sri Lanka cricket team bus was attacked on Tuesday, leaving five cricketers injured.
Players who suffered injuries are:Ajantha Mendis, Tharanga Paranavitana, Thilan Samaraweera, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and team assistant coach Paul Farbrace.
The shooting took place in the area around Liberty Market near Gaddafi stadium in Lahore where the team was heading for the third day's play of the second Test against Pakistan.
Their bus was attacked by masked gunmen who were armed with rockets, grenades and AK-47s. In the attack, apart from the five cricketers and assistant coach Farbrace, fourth umpire Ahsan Raza also suffered injuries.
The driver, who was luckily unhurt, took the bus directly to the Gaddafi Stadium from where the injured players were rushed to the hospital. They were taken back to in their hotel after they were discharged and were soon flown back home. All injured members are reportedly out of danger.
Meanwhile, the tour that was initiated in a gesture of showing solidarity was mutually called off by the two cricket boards. Sri Lanka team had agreed to tour Pakistan after India annulled its tour in the wake of Mumbai attacks in last November.
While cricket world expressed grief and shock, Pakistan sports minister apologised to the Sri Lanka government for the gruesome attack. He accepted there was a security lapse.
This gruesome attack has also put Pakistan under the ICC scanner as it is also the co-host of the 2011 World Cup.
ICC President David Morgan has ruled out immediate return of cricket in the trouble-prone nation.
"Situation in Pakistan is such that teams should not be expected to return immediately but things can change quickly. The board will be meeting in April and will consider the world Cup in great details.
"There is an organising committee chaired by ICC Vice-President Sharad Pawar and he and his team will be engaged on the very topic," he said.