DUBAI: The head of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has condemned Tuesday’s attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan.

“We note with dismay and regret the events in Lahore and we condemn this attack without reservation,” ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.

“At this time our thoughts and prayers are with the injured people and also the families of those who have died,” Mr. Lorgat added.

Tough times

The ICC President, David Morgan has said Pakistan cannot host international cricket until it drastically improves its security. “In the current situation, Pakistan is a very dangerous place. I think international cricket in Pakistan is out of question until there is a very significant change,” said Mr. Morgan.

But he said it was too early to say if Pakistan would be stripped of the right to host 2011 World Cup matches following the terror attack against the Sri Lankan team.

The ICC President-elect Sharad Pawar said that Pakistan will now find it difficult to host World Cup matches.

“In the current situation, it’s very difficult for Pakistan to co-host the 2011 World Cup,” said Mr. Pawar.

The top officials of the various National cricket boards have all condemned the attacks and expressed shock and dismay at the incident

Sri Lanka Cricket Chief Executive Duleep Mendis said “the players are shaken, their families are worried.”

Teams will re-think

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President, Shashank Manohar said Pakistan may now struggle to attract foreign teams.

“Teams may not want to go to Pakistan for another four or five years,” said Mr. Manohar. “The ICC will have to ponder over the chances of playing World Cup matches in Pakistan.”

Dastardly attack

The BCCI Secretary N. Srinivasan called the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers “a dastardly act.” “I condemn it in the strongest manner possible. It’s a pity that a visiting team has been targeted. This is also the first time that the cricketers have been attacked. The ugly face of terror is before us.”

Former players shocked

When India called off its tour to Pakistan following the terrorist attack in Mumbai, former great Imran Khan had proudly proclaimed that “cricketers would never be targeted” in his country. He was proved wrong on Tuesday.

“It is very, very unfortunate. I am so relieved to hear that all the Sri Lankan boys are safe,” said former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi.

Bedi’s anguish was pronounced, “I am very cut up with what has happened in Lahore. The ICC (International Cricket Council) will have to be very, very firm when asking teams to play Pakistan, whether at home or away. We have to preserve the game and the players. What is cricket without cricketers?”

Mohinder Amarnath was also upset. “This incident will harm cricket as a whole and the damage would be more in Pakistan. Who will go and play in Pakistan? We would have to be very careful now when we organise cricket events in India.”

Former India captain Kapil Dev was equally forceful in his condemnation. “It will harm cricket in the sub-continent. It will be wrong to think that events would be safe in the sub-continent and there is reason to believe that we would need to be extra cautious now. It is sad. I never thought a cricketer would ever become a target for terrorists.”

Hopes go up in smoke

Meanwhile in Pakistan, a host of former captains were left fearing international isolation and pre-empted the ICC decision on Pakistan’s status as World Cup co-host.

“It is a major, major shock. Teams were already unwilling to come to Pakistan. This will end the game for the next couple of years, including the hosting rights of the World Cup,” said Wasim Akram. “It’s a big tragedy. Something like this should have never happened, ” said paceman Waqar Younis.

Javed Miandad said “the government should investigate and find out how this incident occurred because it will have serious repercussions on Pakistan cricket.” Inzamam-ul-Haq also expressed doubts on Pakistan hosting the World Cup matches.

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