Sri Lankan players ignored security expert Dickason’s advice

March 4th, 2009 - 1:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, March 4 (IANS) Cricket’s leading security adviser, Reg Dickason, says he had warned the Sri Lanka Cricketers Association of the inherent dangers in going to Pakistan, but they ignored his advice.
After Tuesday’s terror attack on the Sri Lankan team coach on its way to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, cricket world is waking up to the realities of fears expressed by various security experts a year ago. Now, Pakistan will be scrapped as a touring destination.

The attack, which left six policemen and two civilians dead and injured six players and an assistant coach, will force cricket’s marque event, the World Cup, to be radically replanned.

Dickason, who advises Australian, England and New Zealand cricket boards on security matters, said he rang the secretary of the Sri Lankan Cricketers Association, Graeme Labrooy, a fortnight before the Sri Lankans were to embark on the tour to warn him of the danger.

“I expressed my serious concerns about going to Pakistan,” Dickason told The Australian from the West Indies, where he is with the England cricket team.

“I offered to speak to him further about it and told him to get back to me if there was anything more he needed.”

He did not hear back from Labrooy.

Dickason strongly opposed the Champions Trophy being played in Pakistan last year, forcing its postponement when most countries outside the subcontinent refused to play despite the pressure from the International Cricket Council.

“It (Pakistan) has obviously proven once again to be unsafe,” Dickason said. “Tragically, it has once and for all laid to rest the claim that international sporting teams are treated differently by terrorist organisations.

“I’ve long held that is certainly not the case. It was my view that the concerns which were raised last year regarding the Champions Trophy hadn’t changed. Pakistan is in a volatile situation and travelling there needed careful consideration. This attack was well planned and executed.”

The tragic incident is a major embarrassment for the ICC following its persistent attempts to have the Champions Trophy played in Pakistan instead of moving it. It has been hastily rescheduled for October and will now be shifted from Pakistan, probably to Sri Lanka.

The ICC Tuesday night refused to comment on the implications of the attack, but ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the world body noted with dismay and regret the events in Lahore.

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