Tuesday 3 March 2009

Sport is now war...

Learning this afternoon that radicals in Pakistan had attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team bus and killed 8 people should finally convince those people off with the fairies that politics and sport do cross over and secondly - those who compare playing a game to the reality of warfare are way off the mark.
The intensity of sporting competition may bring out the inner cave man in some athletes but I'm willing to assume that the feelings that the members of the Sri Lankan cricket team were totally different when their bus was attacked by gunmen than when they are playing in the so called cauldron of Test cricket.
The only positive to come out of this terrible attack is that the security men who were on detail with the Sri Lankans obviously did their job and as of 8:08pm AEST tonight, no members of the team were killed and those who were injured were quickly evacuated from the scene.
No one can claim that the Pakistani security didn't do their job because if we are fair dinkum about it - no amount of security or preparation can stop madmen from doing something that is so insane. The fact the security forces managed to keep the players safe from what has been reported as 12 masked gunmen should be praised as having done their job and although clearly this attack has implications over the short, if not long term future of international cricket being played in Pakistan the blame cannot rest on the shoulders of the Pakistan government for this.
I won't even try to get into the mind of what drives someone or a group to do this kind of thing but we should be grieving for the lives and praising the efforts of the men who died in this assault first and foremost before we begin to grieve over the future of Pakistani cricket.
The Sri Lankan team were airlifted from the ground in Lahore to an air base where they will depart for Sri Lanka very soon. The Test Match clearly has been abandoned.
"The players are shocked. They have never gone through anything like this before," former Sri Lankan player Sanath Jayasuriya told an Indian news channel on the phone from Colombo, which says all you need to know about why this notion that sport is war is so utterly wide of the mark.
We will have time to consider all the repucussions of this attack in the next few months, if not years, but we should be thankful to God for having helped the securit forces protect those who they chose to defend from an assault by people who simply cannot hold to the sanctity of human life.