It was around 3 in the afternoon in Sydney. I was making a bit of lunch with my wife, when the familar vibration of the phone drew my attention to it from my mundane task of chopping up a mushroom. It was a text message from my dad. When I opened it had the ‘News Alert’ tag on it.’ My dad keeps me updated with the latest news from back home this way.
The first line said ‘4 policemen dead’, ah fuck I thought, another bloody suicide bombing, what I read next gave me a cold chill. ‘4 policemen dead when gunmen targetted the Sri Lanka cricket team in Pakistan’.
From then on it was a frenzy, hitting the news websites, checking on Sri Lankan forums,Going on MSN, chatting to friends from all over the world, it was pretty clear I was one of the first ones to know about the incident. In fact my first post on a cricket forum was something like ‘Did you guys hear about an attack on the SL team?’.
Slowly the news trickled in. 7-8 players injured said one site, 1 seriously injured said another. I was in a daze. So was everyone else. Fuck, from worrying about whether we should have declared earlier to this was a mind trip I wasn’t really ready for.
Channel 9 in Australia were all over it. Sanath was on the phone with CNN, everyone was safe he said. He had been on the phone with Vass and Sanga, which made me feel alot better.
Cricket. It flows in every one of our veins. We bleeding love thisgame, love it so much that we would sit behind a monitor for a hours writing about it, peruse through every single fucking run scored by a player and every single wicket taken by a bowler. Pick on the pitch, make fun of a commentator, get riled up over an umpiring call. It is what unites us. Its why you are reading this right now.
And thats why I felt like one of my own was hurt. It felt like somebody I knew was in the middle of all this. We live the game, so much so that the players are like a part of our own family. Our own blood. To hear that they were being attacked, with grenades and rocket launchers and machine guns was fucking terrifying.
All I could ask my self was why ? Why us ? When every respectable cricket nation abandoned Pakistan, We went there. Pakistan had always backed us, so it was easy enough logic that we should back them. Everyone promised that cricketers would never be harmed. And We believed them.
But RPGs and grenades ? Fuck.
14 months without test cricket. For a nation who loves cricket, the stands were empty, the pitches were dead and you end up trying to kill the only team that has the courage to tour ?
I’m a little drunk right now fellas and I hope you understand.
I;m gonna say a few things before I really start sounding like an idiot. First off, for the brave motherfuckers who died trying to save our team.
Thank you. You didnt deserve what you got, and I hope that you all find peace and that your families are proud of the way you have acted today.
To the crazy bus driver, who kept driving after the first RPG hit missed.
Thank you for having the balls of Zeus himself.
To the people of Pakistan, we hope all of you find a way to defeat these terrorists who have infected your land. We know how it feels. We have fought our own breed of Parasites for over 20 fucking years and we are only getting down to killing them off for good.
There is no ill will or hatred towards Pakistan. I am glad we toured, we were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Because, even though it is our players that were hurt, it is Pakistan that has suffered.