Pak Cricketers launch ‘Broad-side’ against match referee

Akbar Khan

In an absolutely distasteful display of oratory and insensitivity, several Pakistani cricketers, including Javed Miandad, Ramiz Raja and Younis Khan, have called for strict action against match-referee, Chris Broad, for going public with the incompetence of Pakistani security agencies, responsible for guarding players and officials.

Broad had accused local authorities in Pakistan of leaving players and match umpires as “sitting ducks,” during the audacious attack on the visiting Sri Lankan side and match officials, while on their way to Lahore’s Gaddafi stadium for the third day of the second test.

Eight Pakistanis, including a driver of the bus ferrying match officials and six policemen, were killed in the ambush while several others, including Lankan players, suffered bullet and shrapnel wounds, when a dozen armed men appeared out of the landscape at a prominent city intersection to propel grenades and open indiscriminate fire from automatic assault weapons.

Though, most would be left shocked and outraged by a similar incident, the sensitivity is too much to expect from the bad boys of international cricket, who have flirted with controversy over everything from ball tampering, drugs, smuggling and match fixing to a dead coach in a hotel room.

Pakistani cricketers, a revered lot in the country, perhaps dwell in a fool’s paradise to even attempt to throw the book at Broad, who was a hapless victim in the attack.

With Broad’s comments hitting the nail on the head, Miandad read sabotage in the umpire’s comments and called on the International Cricket Council to ban the former from standing in matches.

A member of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Miandad, said: “The ICC must ban Broad from standing in any matches,”

Launching a ‘Broad-side’ against the hapless terror victim, the once prolific willow accused Broad of intentionally attempting to tarnish Pakistan’s image and isolate it as a cricketing nation.

Miandad’s comments came after the PCB made clear its intentions to lodge a formal protest with the ICC on Thursday.

Miandad was not alone in his tirade and similar sentiments were echoed by Ramiz Raja, another former Pakistan captain, who said Broad should have conveyed his reservations to the ICC rather than putting them in the public domain.

“His (Broad’s comments are unfortunate and have hurt Pakistan cricket,” said Raja.

Pakistan captain Younis Khan too joined in the chorus and demanded strict action against Broad for lambasting the security apparatus in his country.

“The ICC has strict code of conduct for players. We can’t even make gestures. But what about officials? What right does Broad have to publicly demean our country, our policemen and our cricket board. Some action must be taken against him,” said the Pakistani skipper without an iota of thought to the fact that the criticism was brought on by his own countrymen.

“Solutions must be found not excuses. What has happened has happened but people should not use this as an excuse to isolate and abandon Pakistan cricket,” said Younis but did not clarify as to what solutions he expected from the international cricket body to tackle the terror situation in his country.

With global public opinion on cricket in Pakistan rather bleak at this juncture, any disciplinary action against Broad at this juncture would only see the sport slump to a greater nadir, from where it could only be rescued by gentlemen that once played the game.

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