Field Theory by Hadyn Green


Here's what we know

Masked men opened fire on the Sri Lankan cricket team's convoy in Lahore, killing six policemen escorting them and a driver. Seven players and an assistant coach were wounded.

All of the gunmen escaped.

Two of the players, Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavitana, are in hospital. Umpire Ehsan Raza is in a critical condition.

The BBC is reporting that the gunmen used a rocket-propelled grenade to create a diversion while others fired on the convoy.

Naturally Twitter is all over it, though as the Lahore Metblog advises, some of the tweets may be little reactionary (e.g. Mi6, CIA and Mossad are behind it all). But I found this one somehow reassuring:

Back home after meeting friends for dinner. Lahorites out and about in restaurants. Lahorites find restaurants cathartic.

Meanwhile the ICC is already considering the future of Pakistani cricket, and it doesn't look good:

"It's difficult to see international cricket being played in Pakistan for the foreseeable future," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in London.

Pakistani officials are saying that the attacks resemble the Mumbai attacks in September last year.

"They were trained terrorists and they attacked in a planned manner. The attackers looked like Pashtuns," said Punjab province Khaled Farooq.

Then rather helpfully an angry Pakistani Minister claimed it was an act of war by India:

"The evidence which we have got shows that these terrorists entered from across the border from India," Sardar Nabil Ahmed Gabol, Minister of State for Shipping, told private Geo television. "This was a conspiracy to defame Pakistan internationally."

"This incident took place in reaction to 26/11," he said referring to the Mumbai attacks in November in which at least 170 people were killed. "It is a declaration of open war on Pakistan by India," said the minister, who is not one of the government's official spokesmen, but belongs to President Asif Ali Zardari's party.

Let's hope that all dies down soon

The Herald has a timeline of Pakistan's problems with cricket and terrorism, strangely under a headline that says "terror finds a new target". For a country that New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and England have all refused to play in or have shortened tours because of security issues, this is not a "new target". Also I fail to see how

February 2009: Pakistan hosts Sri Lanka in first test series held in the country in 14 months. The first test ends in a draw.

is a security issue.

I will leave the geopolitics to others but does this mean the end of cricket in Pakistan? No, of course not.

Even in darkest days of the Kashmir insurgency which set Pakistan and India at each other's throats you didn't see anything like this — in fact one of the signs of normal life there came from boys out in the street playing cricket.

In Afghanistan, the hardline Taliban which banned most sports appear to have been less hostile to cricket...

I've even seen Pakistani soldiers spontaneously playing cricket the harsh terrain of the Siachen battlefield beyond Kashmir, bowling a few balls in the drizzling snow under the lee of steep mountain walls.

But these attacks will almost definitely mean the end of international cricket in Pakistan for a very long time.

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