Australian umpires slam Pakistan security

Updated: 05 March 2009 09:11 IST

The two Australian umpires caught up in the attack by gunmen on the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan have slammed the security arrangements for the tour.

Australian umpires slam Pakistan security


Two Australian umpires in the official convoy during the deadly attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team's bus in Pakistan have criticized security, saying they were heavily exposed in the ambush and were abandoned by guards.

Simon Taufel and Steve Davis were in a mini van along with Pakistani umpire Ahsan Rasa who was seriously wounded and English ICC match referee Chris Broad, the former Test batsman who has already said the match officials were like sitting ducks during the attack.

About a dozen gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka convoy on Tuesday as it travelled to the stadium for day three of the Test match, killing six policemen and a driver. Seven Sri Lanka players were injured.

The driver of the van containing the match officials was killed. The driver of the team bus, which was in front of the van, kept driving through the ambush while bullets peppered his vehicle.

Taufel, regarded as the top on-field umpire in cricket, said the security detail abandoned the van while the team bus was able to keep going.

"You tell me why no one was caught. You tell me why. Supposedly 25 armed commandos were in our convoy, and when the team bus got going again, we were left on our own," Taufel said after returning to Sydney on Thursday, two days after the attack. "I don't have answers to those questions.

"I'm angry that we were isolated. I'm angry that we didn't get the same level of security that the players got. I'm angry that in our hour of need we were left on our own. I'm angry that the team got to the ground and no one came back for us."

Taufel, 38, who has umpired in 55 Test matches, is surprised he survived the attack.

"On Tuesday morning we were caught in a war ... It's just a game of cricket, not a war. It's not the way the way life should be or sport should be," he said. "

Eventually, a police officer got into the van and drove the officials to the stadium.

Davis agreed that the match officials were "let down" by Pakistan security.

"Security were nowhere to be seen when we were left at the roundabout," said Davis, who arrived in Melbourne on Thursday. "So we were quite disappointed at that and quite angry.

"We had all sorts of assurances before, and I'm sure the team feels that way too _ they had some assurances. Despite all that, this was still able to happen.

"We were put in a very vulnerable position and I felt very helpless."

Davis said Tuesday's attack had changed the face of cricket.

"I was naive to think that cricket was above all that," he said. "Why should we be any different to any other innocent victims anywhere that get caught up in terrorism? There's no reason why we should be different."

The series against Sri Lanka were the first Test matches Pakistan had hosted in 14 months. Australia, India and the West Indies were among the teams who refused to tour. The International Cricket Council also postponed and shifted the Champions Trophy - a limited-overs tournament featuring the top eight countries - from Pakistan last September due to concerns over security.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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