ICC to review 2011 World Cup after attack

LONDON - Cricket's governing body will review Pakistan's status as co-host of the 2011 World Cup after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore injured seven players and left six police officers and a driver dead.

The International Cricket Council said today that national teams would be reluctant to play in Pakistan in the foreseeable future.

"On many occasions we has been told that cricketers would never be targeted in Pakistan," ICC chairman David Morgan said. "This morning's events have proved that to be quite incorrect."

A dozen men attacked the Sri Lankan team bus on its journey to the stadium for the third day of the second test against the host nation.

Seven players, an umpire and a coach were wounded, none with life-threatening injuries. The Sri Lankan team and officials, including the injured, were airlifted home. A helicopter landed on the playing surface of the Gaddafi stadium and those who escaped injury were flown to safety.

"The situation currently as it is in Pakistan, there will be a great reluctance from cricketers to return there," Morgan said at a news conference at Lord's, the home of cricket.

"We mustn't believe that Pakistan is going to remain unsafe forever and ever," he added. "We must hope it won't remain unsafe for too long."

Morgan said the attack made it "a sad day for cricket, cricketers and mankind."

"The world is a dangerous place but cricket must go on, it will go on," he said. "It's a great game and a great solace to so many people."

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the attack did not necessarily mean that Pakistan would lose its 2011 World Cup matches.

The ICC will meet in Dubai next month to discuss whether to redistribute the matches among India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the other World Cup co-hosts.

"We need to be careful of a knee-jerk reaction," Lorgat said. "The World Cup is still two years away. The World Cup will be staged in the Indian subcontinent shared between four countries, that is the current plan. The Board will have to think very carefully about the extent to which Pakistan will be used for that event.

"It's a very important event but the safety and security of players, officials and supporters is very important and the board will be taking that into account."

Lorgat also said that Pakistan would be able to continue playing cricket at neutral venues.

"It's difficult to see international cricket being played in Pakistan in the foreseeable future," Lorgat said. "But it's better Pakistan chooses to play cricket in neutral venues than not at all. We should encourage the game to continue."

Lorgat would not comment on the level of security surrounding the Sri Lankan team but said no threats were made against them during the buildup to the game.

"We are going to have to wait to see what reports come out of that," he said. "The first priority was for us was to make sure that everybody was safe and everybody was removed from Lahore. We can be thankful that the fatalities are not worse than what we've seen."

- AP

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