Sri Lankans cancel trip to Oxford after security fears

LONDON - Security concerns following the armed attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore in March forced captain Kumar Sangakkara to cancel a speaking engagement in Oxford last Friday.

By (Reuters)

Published: Mon 1 Jun 2009, 1:52 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:48 AM

Sangakkara was one of six Sri Lanka players wounded by a small group of heavily armed men who killed six Pakistani policemen and the driver of the bus carrying the match officials.

As a consequence, security experts now accompany the team and on Friday Sangakkara, team mate Muttiah Muralitharan and manager Brendon Kuruppu pulled out of an engagement in Oxford because the security team had not been given adequate notice.

“We thought we were Asian, we were a cricket team and we were never going to be attacked in Pakistan. We were way off the mark and quite naive,” Sangakkara told a World Cup captains’ new conference on Sunday.

“The Oxford arrangements were not made known to our security team well in advance for them to set up arrangements there so that was why it was cancelled.

“We have got to play cricket, cricket for us means normalcy and to make sure we’ve the help mentally to deal with what happened in Lahore. Of course we will still have a few memories, all of them not very good, but I think we have got the mental fortitude to keep moving forward and keep playing cricket.

“Getting on a bus and doing our job is our first step towards that.”

Sangakkara said the end of the separatist war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was a great opportunity for the country to move forward with the national cricket team at the forefront.

“Cricket in Sri Lanka has been that one unifying force over the years,” he said. “It’s been a passion of the whole country, it transcends religion, caste, race, politics and I think that is the greatest thing that we as a team represent.

“We as a team are representative of all the cities we have in Sri Lanka, all the religions, everyone and we get on fine.”

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