Let’s hope Serendipity will override Cricket’s Security threat | Daily News

Let’s hope Serendipity will override Cricket’s Security threat

Let’s bring serendipity to the country before Sri Lanka becomes desert for international cricket, like Pakistan. This is the hope in the minds of cricketers, cricket authorities and cricket fans where ever they gather.

The senseless terror bombings in the country on April 21, Easter Sunday, resulted in the first signs of an impending pull out of foreign cricket teams to the country. It was sounded by the pulling out of the under-19 team to the country by the Pakistan Cricket Board citing security concerns.

England were penciled to tour the country in November/December and they have raised security concerns and at the time of writing, the tour is in the balance.

If what has happened to Pakistan happens to Sri Lanka it will be a great pity and a major setback. All foreign cricket teams have pulled out and no international cricket is being played in Pakistan.

This came about after the terrorist attack on the bus that was carrying the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore in 2009. Now Pakistan play all their home matches in desert country – Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The Lankan cricketers some of whom suffered injuries and support staff of the International Cricket Council – match referee and the neutral umpires had a narrow shave. That attack put an end to international cricket being played in Pakistan.

No country will want to expose their cricketers to any kind of harm and no country can be faulted if they refuse to tour. Human life is more important than sport.

The first known attack on sportsmen came during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany when a terror outfit known as Black September launched an inhuman attack on some of the members of the Israel squad.

Some members of the Israel team were shot dead in cold blood. They had done no wrong to nobody. They were sportsmen and it was sad and shocking to watch the horror taking place on television.

My good friend Upali Gooneratne who was a champion athlete during his time and the writer were guests of the West German Government at the Olympics and stood stupefied at the carnage that was taking place in the Olympic village in Munich.

It was said that the Black September group members had worked at the Village where visiting athletes, especially where the Israeli contingent were going to be housed, studied the locality and on the day of the attack had got past the security posing as athletes with kit bags that carried the arms and ammunition.

Once inside they let loose horror and terror shooting down some of the innocent Israeli athletes who were helpless and had no way of running or escaping from the hail of bullets that were directed at them.

It shocked and sent the sports and the world into mourning because this was the first time ever that sportsmen and women were marked for annihilation by senseless terrorists.

The Americans feared and not wanting to have their athletes exposed to danger immediately flew out their champion swimmer Mark Spitz who was rewriting the swim records books at the Munich pool. That horrifying incident and experience is still vivid in the writer’s mind 47 years later.

One also remembers the LTTE bombings when the New Zealand cricketers were here in 1987 and 1992. In 1987 with the Pettah bomb blast Jeff Crowe’s team called off the tour and flew back.

Then in 1992 the bombing of Navy Commander Clancy Fernando prompted some of the cricketers in the team led by Martin Crowe to fly out, but Crowe got down some other cricketers and continued with the tour. That was great.

And instead of appreciating the good deed by Martin Crowe, the Lankan cricketers took a bump catch in a Test match at the SSC when he was batting and appealed loudly. Umpire Ignatius Anandappa who did not have the benefit of the TV was forced into giving Crowe out when TV replays showed that it was a bump catch.

Crowe rightly stood his ground and refused to leave the field. The umpire had to change his earlier decision and Crowe went on to make a brilliant century, but could not prevent his team from losing the Test.

The appealing for a bump catch was a black mark on the game in which game the Lankans were known to be good sports and examples to others.

Sadly Martin Crowe is no more passing away after bravely fighting the dreaded cancer. But his fine gesture in helping to keep cricket going in the country alive will always be remembered and appreciated.

Had he followed the example of his brother Jeff and taken the team away no one would have faulted him, because life is more precious than sport. Had Martin done that Sri Lanka would have been a cricketing graveyard then.

In Sri Lanka, cricket is a second religion and it is hoped that the present set of office bearers in Sri Lanka Cricket will play their best stroke and see that CRICKET is continued to be played in the country. A big responsibility rests on them.

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