Lack of security left us sitting ducks says Broad

LONDON Wed Mar 4, 2009 11:53pm GMT

1 of 6. British cricket referee Chris Broad gestures during a press conference in Manchester March 4, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Phil Noble

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LONDON (Reuters) - International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Chris Broad said he and colleagues were left like "sitting ducks" by a lack of security in Tuesday's attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore that left six players injured.

Broad, travelling behind in a bus whose driver was killed, raised security concerns before the tour to Pakistan but said the protection he had been promised was not provided.

"There was not a sign of a policeman anywhere. They had clearly gone, left the scene and left us to be sitting ducks," he told a news conference in Manchester on Wednesday after flying home.

"I am extremely angry we were promised high level security and in our hour of need that security vanished," added former England batsman Broad. "I am very angry with the Pakistan security forces."

The driver of Broad's bus was one of seven people killed in the attack as the players and match officials were making their way to the Gaddafi stadium for the third day of the second test.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ejaz Butt said he was disappointed with Broad's remarks.

"I don't know how he can say there was no proper security because don't forget six brave policemen sacrificed their lives in the incident," he said.

Butt told Reuters the policemen had been killed trying to protect the Sri Lankan team and the match officials.

Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan also defended the level of security.

"The standard of security was high class," he told BBC radio. "There were five mobile vans carrying... armed policemen with them, and they were following them, along with them, and there was also an ambulance.

"And the driver was competent enough to dash the coach into the stadium to save all these players."

PCB HEADQUARTERS

The Gaddafi stadium is also the headquarters of the PCB.

Broad said he became worried about safety after the ICC decided not to stage the 2009 Champions Trophy in Pakistan due to security concerns.

"I had an inkling before the test match leg of the tour that something might happen," Broad said. "(The PCB) assured me through email that all security would be taken care of, presidential style security, and clearly that didn't happen."

Broad, still appearing visibly shaken by the attack, said he felt shocked and saddened.

"We are extremely lucky to be here today," he said, describing how he lay on the floor of his bus behind critically injured Pakistani umpire Ahsan Raza as bullets flew around them.

"I think we all had the same feeling that we were just waiting for a bullet to hit us."

Broad said he could not see cricket returning to Pakistan in the foreseeable future.

"This has put a bit of a nail in the coffin of cricket in Pakistan," he added.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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