Sri Lankan cricketers thank ‘brave’ driver (Lead)

March 3rd, 2009 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Lahore, March 3 (IANS) After narrowly escaping death, Sri Lankan cricketers Tuesday praised Pakistani bus driver Mehar Mohammad Khalil for driving them out of danger amid firing by terrorists.

“The Sri Lankan cricketers were praising their driver for his bravery,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ijaz Butt told reporters after meeting the visitors at an undisclosed location.

“They wanted to thank him before heading back home,” he added.

Egged on by players who were screaming “go, go”, the driver sped away from the scene of the attack even as a group of terrorists kept firing at the vehicle. Six cricketers, however, were injured.

Butt said he had lunch with the traumatised Sri Lankans and insisted that all of them escaped serious injuries.

He said batsman Thilan Samaraweera was the only Sri Lankan cricketer who suffered a bullet injury.

“Thankfully it’s just a flesh wound. He was hit by a bullet in the back but it didn’t penetrate into the bone. He should be fine,” said the PCB chief.

Butt said the Sri Lankans were in high spirits as they waited for a chartered plane to go back to Colombo via Abu Dhabi.

“Thank god all the players are safe,” he said. “They are our guests and their safety was our biggest responsibility.”

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