Sri Lankans in the Cayman Islands were just as shocked as their compatriots around the world after seven members of the Sri Lankan cricket team were shot and injured while on their way to a Test match in Pakistan on Tuesday.
Sandrina Abeywardene is a graphic designer for a media house in George Town. She said: ‘Stunned disbelief – that’s my initial reaction.
‘Cricket holds a very special place in every Sri Lankan’s heart and we are all very proud of our cricket team. I was calling home at that time and heard of the incident just moments after it took place.
‘There were a few nail biting moments as we awaited news of the cricketers, unaware of how badly injured they were.
‘I’m relieved that they are all out of danger. It’s shocking that terrorists should feel threatened by such a friendly game as cricket. Inhumanity really knows no bounds.’
Her husband Shermil Fernando was equally as shocked. ‘It’s difficult to find a Sri Lankan who isn’t a cricket fan. If there’s a cricket match, they’ll be glued to the TV cheering our team on.
‘Tuesday was no different. Our family was looking forward to watching the Test match live on TV but instead they had to watch the gruesome events that took place.
‘No one can condone such atrocious acts and I hope whoever was behind it will be brought to justice.’
Meanwhile, the West Indies Cricket Board president Julian Hunte said: ‘This is a sad day for international cricket and a sad day for Pakistan cricket. This will also deal a serious blow to cricket lovers in Pakistan.
‘The people of Pakistan will now be denied international cricket for the foreseeable future.
‘Our thoughts and prayers go out to the members of the Sri Lanka team and we wish them well. We thank God no members of the team were killed. We also want to express condolences to the families of the security officers who died while trying to protect the Sri Lanka players, the team staff and team officials.’
He regrets that cricketers were targeted and suggested heightened security measures for the sport.
‘All Test-playing nations must ensure that security is priority Number one – in our area of the world as well. Before, it was felt that cricketers were not being targeted regardless of what was going on in Pakistan. There was a level of comfort.
‘This now blows that away and it means cricketers are being seen as targets. It is a matter we cannot ignore and we must ensure the safety of players and everyone else involved in this beautiful game.’
Hunte added the Pakistan Cricket Board must be ‘devastated’ at the prospect of not being able to host international matches.
‘This now puts the PCB in a difficult position to develop the game in their country.’
Hunte added: ‘The attacks prove that the ICC was wise not to schedule the 2009 Champions Trophy there after having postponed the tournament in 2008 for security reasons. The WICB took the decision in collaboration with the West Indies Players Association not to attend the 2008 tournament for security reasons. In hindsight it was a very wise decision.’