x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Bayliss hits out over security

The coach of the Sri Lankan cricket team that was targeted in a deadly ambush by terrorists in Pakistan last week has backed claims that security was inadequate in Lahore.

The coach of the Sri Lankan cricket team that was targeted in a deadly ambush by terrorists in Pakistan last week has backed claims by beleaguered match officials that security was inadequate in Lahore. The Australian Trevor Bayliss also warned organisers of major events on the Indian subcontinent, including the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, that no sport was safe from extremists following the attack that saw seven Sri Lankan players, an assistant coach and a match official injured.

Bayliss supported English match referee Chris Broad and Australian umpires Simon Taufel and Steve Davis, who said they were like "sitting ducks" in the attack by more than a dozen gunmen near a stadium last week, comments that were subsequently criticised by the Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ijaz Butt. Six police officers and the driver of a van that was carrying Broad and the two umpires in a convoy with the Sri Lankan bus were killed in the attacks, and Bayliss said: "In hindsight there just wasn't enough security and even the police chief and the security people have actually said there was a lack of security.

"There's some big questions to be asked by the governing bodies of all the sports, not just cricket. I think this proves if cricket, which is the No 1 sport on the sub-continent, can get hit then any sport can get hit and especially any big sporting tournaments or the Commonwealth Games." Bayliss said he did not want international cricket to die off in Pakistan, but when asked what would convince him to return, he said: "Maybe 10 other tours there by other teams [first]."

* AP Bayliss said he didn't want international cricket to die off in Pakistan, but wasn't in a hurry to go back himself. Asked what would convince him to return, he said: «Maybe about 10 other tours there by other teams.» He also urged organizers of the Indian Premier League, scheduled to start next month, to look carefully at security following the Lahore attack and the Mumbai shootings last November that claimed 164 lives in India's financial hub. He said most of the Sri Lankan players he'd canvassed still planned to play in the lucrative Twenty20 league. «That's more of an individual choice,» he said. «I think the Sri Lankan players, most of them if they're fit, will go. «I think that most of them are fairly keen that cricket must continue and that terrorism can't stop sport and they should show a united front. «When it comes to the crunch though, when your life's on the line, it might be a different story.»