Saturday, March 7, 2009

ICC questions security during Pak attack

Pakistan on Saturday came in for sharp criticism from the ICC which said the level of security provided to the terror-hit Sri Lankan cricketers were "not as expected" despite a categorical assurance of foolproof measures.ICC President David Morgan said both the ICC and Sri Lanka Cricket were satisfied with the security assurances given by the Pakistan Cricket Board and the checks carried out by the authorities ahead of the series."Our people were in touch with the Pakistan board and had assurances of presidential level security. We were satisfied as were the Sri Lankan Board. Sadly, it would seem it was not as expected," he said.The ICC President, however, refused to make any comment on PCB chairman Ejaz Butt's claim that security was adequate."I have spoken with Ijaz Butt and I think his views are well known. I also spoke with Mahela Jayawardene and I had his account of security, and also Chris Broad, and I think it would be wrong for me to comment on widely differing accounts," Morgan told the BBC.

Incidentally, both ICC match referee Broad and Sri Lankan skipper Jayawardene questioned the level of security provided to the visiting team as well as match officials during Tuesday's terror attack.Six Sri Lankan players and assistant coach Paul Fabrace were injured, while eight people were killed when 12 gunmen opened fired at the team convoy while it was heading towards the Gaddafi stadium for the third day's play in the second Test.Morgan said a detailed report on the incident would be at ICC's hand before its next executive meeting in Dubai on April 17."Representatives of the two teams will give first-hand accounts to us when we meet," he said.Match referee Chris Broad and Sri Lanka captain Jayawardene will be present to give a first hand account of their experiences during the Lahore terror attack.

He also dismissed suggestions that the ICC was also responsible for the security arrangements during any international series."I doubt that could be put into effect...for bilateral tours the duty of care lies with the employer and it's the home board that employs the players. The ICC only becomes involved when the host and the visitor disagree about security," Morgan stated.However, Morgan said the ICC was committed to help Pakistan in its endeavour to arrange international series on away or neutral venues as long as the situation does not improve in their home soil."We are all agreed we must do anything possibly to allow Pakistan to continue to play international cricket away from home or on neutral territory until we are able to play back there. It would be wrong for them to become isolated," Morgan said.Asked whether the terror attack had cast a shadow of uncertainty over the 2011 World Cup to be co-hosted by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the ICC President said, "We would need to make a decision on venues 15 months ahead of the start and we would have to be certain it could be held in the subcontinent within 12 months of the start."The organising group are well on with the assessment of what has to be done to produce a safe, secure and successful tournament," he added.

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